Senior Jackets Prepare to Leave Nest

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Two seniors watch as Emily Nordwall delivers another hard outside hit to the Crusaders. Photo by Brennan Waldorf.

By Brennan Waldorf

Oct. 22 was senior night for the Northampton Yellow Jackets as they took on Surry County for the second time this year. They swept the Cougars in three straight sets (25-21, 25-13, 25-10) for a perfect series. They will retire three seniors this year in Yeats James, Ariana Wilson, and Layla Rodriguez but will have a bright future with a young core of sophomores and freshman.

The Jackets coming off three straight districts losses on the road bounced back and throttled down on the Cougars. Surry County is 5-13 on the season and struggled with returning the Jackets’ serves and were riddled with unforced errors all night.

The first set started with a kill from senior Yeats James as she spiked the ball from the middle with authority. The Jackets took the lead and continued to build, finding themselves up 17-9 before settling and allowing the Cougars to mount a comeback. Surry County rallied and brought the game within two points, but the Jackets regained composure and won the set on a Cougar serving error, winning 25-21.

The Jackets opened scoring on the second set with Jacky Santos Maldonado serving four aces in a row as the Cougars allowed five unanswered points. The Jackets serving was key in the victory as the Cougars back row struggled all night with a pattern of miscommunication. Yeats James was the last server in the set recording back-to-back aces before a Cougar miscommunication saw the ball fall to the court.

The third set was unsettling as the Cougars did all but give up in the set. They frequently watched flat-footed as the ball hit the floor. The two teams traded points and the score was close until James yet again delivered a series of aces that put the Cougars down 13-6 before gaining possession. The Jackets serving was superb as several players recorded multiple aces on the night. Maldonado delivered four in a row for the Jackets and won the final set 25-10.

The Jackets were led by Yeats James who recorded 11 kills on the night, Mariah Mathews added another five kills of her own, and Jacky Santos Maldonado finished with three kills and seven assists.

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