"The first two games were really good. We played hard, we communicated, we were attacking the ball good, our passes were good. Defensively we were where we wanted to be position wise," South head coach Jill Newton said.
"That's why the second game we did win. It was because of our level of play and the intensity that we had," she added.
South's opening game saw Speedway jump out to a 3-0 lead before freshman Brittany Burdge dropped the ball on the Speedway side to give the Eagles the possession.
During the game both sides traded points, with South's Liz Mink and Speedway's Whitley Emerson dominating net play.
After tying the game at 11, Speedway started to gradually build a lead the Eagles would gave trouble overcoming. The Sparkplugs built a lead of seven at 19-12 but the Eagles came soaring back to close within two, but Speedway took the first game 25-21.
In the second game, the Eagles turned the tide and took control.
Sam Stanifer scored an early ace to get things started for the Eagles and powerful net play by Mink, Shelby Johnston and Oceaia Boetjer keep the momentum in favor of the Eagles. When the players left the court, South had won 25-22.
But as quickly as the game came to them, it left just as fast.
The Eagles took the court for the start of the third game and were poised to continue to go at the Sparkplugs but the third game was a game of spurts -- mostly in favor of Speedway.
The Sparkplugs had two scoring stretches. The first consisted of six points and the other was 11 straight points to end the game, 25-5, in favor of Speedway.
The fourth game was almost a mirror image of the third, with South unable to answer the numerous shot fired by the Sparkplugs. Although Speedway had ample size at the net, Newton believes the difference was their speed and placement.
"They (Speedway) did a really good job of looking for the holes and placing the ball," Newton commented. "They're just a smart team."
South, still recovering from the third game, simply could not keep pace with Speedway. The game ended, 25-8, with the Sparkplugs going home with the win.
Newton acknowledged the team seemed to lose some steam as the games wore on and said they would need to concentrate on more conditioning. Another aspect of the Eagles' game Newton believes still needs work is with their intensity and consistency.
"That's why the second game we won," Newton said. "It was because of our level of play and the intensity that we had. We obviously lost it in the third and fourth game.
"And that just goes back to the consistency and having that same intensity for every single game of the match and not just one or two. That's something we are going to have to continue to work on," she added.
The Eagles will travel to Riverton Parke at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
At South Putnam
Speedway 25 22 25 25
South Putnam 21 25 5 8
(South Putnam only)
Kills -- Mink 5, Johnston 5, Boetjer 2, Burdge 1, Stanifer 1.
Digs -- Boetjer 5, Johnston 3, Sibbitt 2.
Assists -- Stanifer 14, Miller 5.
Next game -- The Eagles will travel to Riverton Parke at 6 p.m. Tuesday.