Prep volleyball | Saint Stephen's outlasts Bradenton Christian in district match

jlembo@bradenton.comSeptember 21, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Saint Stephen's found itself in yet another scoring drought Thursday night, and all signs pointed toward their match with rival Bradenton Christian going to a fifth and final game.

Then Tori Biach took over.

Positioned on the outside, the Falcons senior took control of the fourth game and led Saint Stephen's to a 3-1 win over the host Panthers.

Saint Stephen's improved to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in Class 3A-District 10.

"When we get into these ruts, we just have to stop thinking," said Biach, a senior who will play at Northern State University in South Dakota next year. "That's what I did in the fourth game and that's what our team as a whole did, as well. We just stopped thinking about what we doing and we played a lot better."

The Panthers (1-8, 0-3) had no answer for Biach, whose three kills in a span of four plays gave the Falcons a 14-9 lead en route to a 25-20 win.

Biach finished with 13 kills, five blocks and nine digs for the Falcons, though coach Shameka Walker wasn't completely happy with her team's performance, especially since the Falcons committed six serving errors.

"Errors," she said. "It's mental focus. Their focus is

up and down, like our play is. If their minds are not at their peak and hungry for every point, then we're going to play like this -- a match of errors."

Melissa Johnson had 10 kills and 19 digs for Saint Stephen's.

"A win is a win. Is it the best match we could have played? Absolutely not," Walker said. "And that's taking nothing away from BCS, because I thought they hustled and they can play good defense. ... But that's what practice is for, and this doesn't matter as much as the district tournament. So I do have faith in us that we will get there. And that's my team, so I have to help them better prepare."

BCS coach Greg Geraldson hopes Thursday's match helps his Panthers, who return just one player from last year's county championship team, after they took the second game from the experienced-laden Falcons.

Abbie James and Mariah Dunlop had seven kills each and Ashley Deal finished with 17 assists for BCS.

"That was progress," he said. "You could see in the fourth set, you could see a little loss of focus. But not bad, we got it back...If we keep making strides, you never know.

"You can just see the confidence more already. As long as we keep getting better, that's what we want to see."

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