Sports

Panthers, Warhawks take commanding 2-0 leads

The 2019-2020 New Providence Volleyball Association (NPVA) Championships got off to an exciting start Friday night at the D.W. Davis Gymnasium, with both number one seeds securing the lead in their respective best-of-five series.

On Sunday, the top seeds won again, and now hold commanding 2-0 leads in the series. They can close out their opponents in sweeps when the respective third games are held on Wednesday.

In the first game of the ladies series, the Simmons Construction Lady Warhawks gave the defending champions and top seeded Central Gas Panthers all they could handle for the first two sets, but fell in four sets. They lost, 25-23, 13-25, 25-14 and 25-12.

The Panthers were led by Rachel Knowles with 20 points (17 kills, two blocks and one service winner) and Latavia Braynen with 14 points (eight kills, four blocks and two service winners). In a losing effort, Barbara Kiraly had 16 points (12 kills, two blocks and two service winners) and Sydline Justilien added eight points (seven kills and one service winner) for the Lady Warhawks.

The second game, the men’s contest, despite the straight sets win, was competitive and exhilarating from the first serve.

The Warhawks won the first set 29-27, defeating the Tour Daddy Defenders in what was the set of the night. They went on to win the match, 29-27, 25-19 and 25-20.

The Defenders, ultimately, could not muster enough resolve, committing 31 unforced errors. They succumbed to the pressure and excellent play of the number one seeded Warhawks.

The Warhawks were led by Donovan Wilmott with 11 points (nine kills and two service winners) and Chauncey Cooper with nine points (nine kills). The Defenders were led by Je’Vaughn Saunders with 11 points (three kills, seven aces and one block) and Jesse Delancy, also with 11 points (10 kills and one block), in a losing effort.

In the second ladies game on Sunday, the Panthers prevailed again, winning 25-21, 21-25, 25-18 and 25-19. Knowles was once again the best scorer for the Panthers with a game-high 21 points (19 kills and two aces). Je’Nae Saunders added 12 points (10 kills and two aces). Lakeisha Albury and Kiraly led the way for the Lady Warhawks with 13 points apiece. Albury had nine kills and four aces and Kiraly contributed eight kills, four aces and one block.

On the men’s side, the Warhawks needed five sets to put away the Defenders in game two of their series, winning 19-25, 25-18, 25-13, 16-25 and 15-8. Wilmott was once again the best scorer for the Warhawks, scoring 18 points. (12 kills, five blocks and one service winner). Cooper added 12 points (nine kills and three service winners). Jamaal “Swaggy” Ferguson had a game-high 23 points (22 kills and one ace) for the Defenders. Jesse Delancy added 10 points (nine kills and one ace) for the Defenders.

The number two seeded Lady Warhawks and Defenders are both on the verge of being swept. They will have their backs against the wall when the respective third games are played on Wednesday.

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