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Dixon leads JV Lady Chargers to comeback victory

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Jessica Dixon (above), who served 15 straight points in Middlesex’s junior varsity win over W&L, has moved up to varsity.
by Tom Chillemi

The Middlesex High JV volleyball team posted a stunning comeback victory over visiting Washington & Lee on September 10.

The Lady Chargers swept W&L in two games, 25-20 and 28-26, which improves their season record to 2-3.

Middlesex lost control early in the second game. Hampered by injuries and a sick player, Middlesex fell behind 24-9 and faced game point. However, team captain Jessica Dixon unleashed a 15-point serving run to tie the game at 24-24.

Mollie Ballantyne served for the next point, and Brittin Payne served the final two points to snag the 28-26 overtime win and the match.

“Jessica Dixon is a strong player, and it really gave us all chills to watch her serve so well under so much pressure,” said MHS coach Ashland Burch. “The girls made me so proud by playing smart ball, and not giving anything up to W&L during Jessica’s serves. I think the entire gym held their breath for about 10 minutes.”

Having shown her talent, Dixon, a sophomore, was moved up to varsity the day after the W&L game. Former varsity player Ivy Perkins has opted to move to JV.

“I am sad to lose Jessica,” said Burch. “She has a very special place on the team as a big sister and captain to the girls, but I am really thrilled to welcome Ivy to the team.

“Ivy is a scrappy player who will be an asset and offer great leadership,” said Burch. “She has strong serves and attacks the ball well.”

Perkins also will likely see some time as a setter.

In the first game against W&L, captain Bridgette Self set the pace on the court with her passing and sophomore Heather Blankenship and Allison Payne both did an “awesome job of serving,” said Burch. “They were able to get a run on points, and the girls were able to keep that going.”

“Brittin Payne is continuing to remain aggressive at the net and has made a number of key plays, including serving the final two nerve-wracking points in the second game,” said Burch.

Reserve eighth-grader Anna Shaw entered and passed the ball at a very important point in the game. “She did an excellent job on the court, making clean passes from several difficult serves, and made a great dig,” said Burch. “I am really impressed with Anna. She is a tiny little powerhouse who has worked hard daily to earn time on the court, and she has made a tremendous amount of progress on her form and consistency. She will certainly see more time on the back line.”

Also in game one, Sarah Ann Goodrich sustained an ankle sprain while making a great attack on the ball that resulted in a kill. She will be out for several weeks.

Mary Stevens, who was out with a sprained wrist, has returned to action.

On Monday, September 21, Middlesex will visit Lancaster. JV games are at 6 p.m. and are followed by varsity games at 7:30 p.m.

posted 09.16.2009

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