Poly outlasts Western

Engineers reach down, pull off five-game win over rival Doves


High Schools


When last night's volleyball match between Western and Poly reached a fifth game, Poly setter Joi Upton said it all came down to which team's desire to win would overcome fatigue.

"We wanted it more. We were so mad that we had to take it five games," Upton said. "We were tired, but we kept going. I didn't let my tiredness get to me, because that's how bad I wanted it."

The Engineers gritted out a win in the final game to upend the defending Baltimore City-champion Doves, 17-25, 25-12, 28-26, 28-30, 15-11, in a grueling, non-division match that lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours in Poly's toasty gym.

Elisha Clayton had five kills and Upton had four as well as 21 assists as the host Engineers (5-0) avenged a pair of losses last season to the Doves, including in the city title match. Poly, which won the city crown in 2003, could meet the Doves (4-1) again for the title next month.

When the final game started, the players were obviously tired and two Doves starters were on the bench - setter Shatera Kimbrough with muscle spasms and hitter Brooke Wilson (nine kills) with ankle cramps.

The Doves had forced a fifth game by fighting off three match points. Zhondria Benn had four of her nine kills late in the fourth game and served an ace to win it.

In the fifth game, Poly never trailed. Jasmine Keene had a couple of kills in a four-point run that boosted a 7-6 Engineers lead to 11-6. Phylicia Poulson had a strong service run and Upton took control of her team.

"I know they were a little bit scared, but they just kept going," said Poly coach Kendall Peace. "Joi pretty much took things in her own hands, was comfortable pushing the ball a little bit and sending things deep, getting Western a little bit rattled in the back row and forcing them to make the mistakes ... "

"Neither one of us were at our top level, because both of us are better teams that what we played today," said Benn. "It had to do with the level of intensity, the Poly-Western rivalry. It was like a roller coaster the whole match."


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