Heights coach Gary Thomason freely admits to telling his players about a million times that everything in volleyball starts with the pass. So while he mentioned just that to sophomore Crystal Whitten following Heights' 25-14, 25-23, 25-14 sweep at North, it's doubtful she needed a reminder.
"As coach always says, it starts with the pass," Whitten said.
"Crystal Whitten was passing the ball on the money," Thomason said "There were very few times any of our players were out of position on defense."
Heights cruised in Games 1 and 3, but in Game 2, well, the Falcons needed to hear Thomason.
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After taking a 7-2 lead in the second game, Heights stumbled and North took advantage. With North trailing 20-17, the Redskins scored five unanswered points — Heights had two hitting errors and a serve-receive error, while North's Chasity Clark had a stuff block — to take a 22-20 lead.
That's when Thomason called time.
"I called timeout, just to clear their heads and remind them that it all starts with the pass," Thomason said.
Heights' passes improved, which helped setter Juliahna Stockham hook up with her hitters. The Falcons scored five of the game's final six points and all came on kills —four from Whitten and one from middle Perri Tucker.
"Our adrenaline was rushing," said Whitten, who had a team-high 13 kills. "It was kill, kill, kill."
North played well at the net against Heights' hitters, but the Falcons kept finding holes. Lindsay Moss had 10 kills, Maggie Hans had seven, Tucker had five kills and four stuff blocks, and Isabel Valdez had five kills and two stuff blocks.
"Our middle back defense was out of sorts tonight," North coach Andrea Scheideman said. "Heights played the line and we had a hard time covering it."