Western's volleyball team walked into enemy territory yesterday, stared down a boisterous crowd of City fans and emerged with a 3-1 victory that avenged an earlier loss by the same margin.
And for a summary of the difference between the two meetings, one needed only to ask Western's junior hitter/setter Kim Osborne.
"This time we weren't intimidated," said Osborne, an underclassman on a 12-1 squad that starts just two seniors.
Osborne, who was 22 of 25 with three service aces, added: "Last time, I was terrified by their serving and their defense. The one thing we didn't want to do was get down on ourselves -- especially serving."
This time, it was the taller Knights (10-2) who got served with a 15-13, 13-15, 15-12, 16-14 loss, behind Osborne, designated server Nayeli Garcia (23 of 23, three aces) and Shenik Lisbon (20 of 21, one ace).
Also serving well were Tesha Tinsley (10 of 11) and Ayanna Jenkins (11 of 17, two aces).
And when it came time to face off against players such as City's 5-foot-11 sophomore hitter Janette Jordan (13 kills) and seniors Tracy St. Louis (five) and Natisha Johnson (four), Western's 5-foot-3 senior captain Erica Dailey (nine kills) and Lisbon (three kills) didn't back down.
"Our self-esteem was really low after losing to them, so we felt we needed to regain some pride," said Dailey, who was 13-for-16 serving. "We felt that it was important to establish our intensity and to maintain it the whole way."
Lisbon said, "We realized, after the last time, that we had to come in here determined. We had to play like we wanted to win, not like we were trying not to lose."
Unlike their previous meeting when Western blew a huge lead before succumbing, yesterday the Doves won the first game -- albeit by the slimmest of margins.
City built leads of 9-1, 12-2 and 13-3 in the second game largely on the serving of senior captain Lucy Muse (22 aces). But the visitors came back to within 14-13 before losing, 15-13.
"We didn't just take a rest and let them win, and I think that was important in helping us get back into the next game," said Western coach Shirley Williams, whose squad can clinch the City-Wide regular-season title with a win over Mervo tomorrow.
"The last time, they weren't getting their spikes in; that's what made it closer today," said City coach Jessica Ivey, whose Knights battled back from deficits to tie the final game at 9, 11 and 14 before losing.
Said Williams: "We concentrated on playing each point."