CLINCHPORT — Charity begins at home.
That succinctly sums up Rye Cove’s winning strategy for the first round of the Region D volleyball tournament.
Charity Lawson reeled off 26 service points, including seven aces, and the Lady War Eagles knocked off Honaker 25-4, 25-14, 25-14 at Rye Cove on Monday night.
The Lady Eagles (18-5) advanced to face John Battle (19-2) in tonight’s 6 o’clock Region D tournament semifinal game at Council.
Lawson, a 5-foot- 5 defensive specialist with strong offensive capabilities, opened service in the first game with 15 consecutive points before she finally netted one for a side-out. She dealt a 10-point run at the start of the third game that put the Lady Tigers (8-15) at a fatalistic disadvantage.
Lawson got some front-line help from Leah Miller and Hillary Grizzle during the handful of times Honaker was able to marshal a return. Most of the time, the Lady Tigers were hard-pressed to put together a good pass and set.
“It was like she won a game single-handed, basically,” said Rye Cove coach Greg Gilliam.
“She’s capable of that, sometimes. She gets on a roll. I don’t know what it is, but a lot of teams have a hard time handling it.”
Lawson also went up for six explosive kills, including one that unintentionally bloodied the nose of Tigers hitter Emily Musick. But it was clearly her service that did the most to deflate Honaker’s hopes.
“I don’t know what happened tonight. I was on fire,” said Lawson, who collected 21 straight against Castlewood earlier in the season. “I had a lot of topspin on it tonight. And I was just concentrating on getting it in and placing it in good spots.”
Rye Cove served well as a team, finishing with 15 aces overall.
Up front, Miller had eight kills and two blocks for the Cumberland District champs. Grizzle and Paige Tiller had four kills apiece. Jasmine Carter distributed 19 assists.
“I like the way we put it away on offense. We got some good sets and they had some good blocks up there. But we hit around them and put it in good places,” said Gilliam, who wasn’t entirely thrilled with his team’s serve-receive.
Honaker’s Rachel Artrip had seven kills and one block. The Lady Eagles did a good job keeping the talented 5-11 hitter’s damage to a minimum.
“Our goal was to put a double block on her every time she touched the ball. Because otherwise, she’ll eat you up,” Gilliam said.
Musick had five service points for the Lady Tigers while Nicole Roman distributed seven assists.
“Rye Cove is an excellent team with excellent killers and servers,” said Honaker coach Greg Mullins.
“The ladies came out flat. We called a couple timeouts and made a couple of substitutions hoping to change the momentum and get something we could work with. We never could get it straightened out.”