Viking Netters Beat Warriors
The Union Pines volleyball team has yet to drop a set as it improved to 4-0 on the season with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-17 victory over West Montgomery Monday at Bob Ward Gymnasium in Cameron.
Despite trailing past the midway point of both games one and two, the Vikings found ways to pull out victories in each set.
In the first set, it was a seven-point service run by Brittany Erickson that did the trick. The junior took her service turn with the score 18-16 in favor of the visiting Warriors and eight points later Union Pines led 23-18.
Erickson had a strong all-around outing on the night, finishing with eight service winners, three aces, 11 digs and five kills.
“West Montgomery gave us a tough match,” said Erickson. “They came out strong so we had to pull it together as a team and get focused.”
Viking head coach Leslie Fish also discussed “focus,” when discussing her team’s play after Monday’s match.
“Before the match started, I told my girls I was not sure how to read them during warm ups,” said Fish. “I told them, ‘I don’t know if you are focused and ready to play, or you just don’t have any energy,’ and I said that to challenge them.
“Then after the first timeout, I found out what it was — they were not focused or ready to play and it showed. Although eventually they were able to settle into the match, pick up their intensity and concentrate.”
Set two again saw the Vikes trailing in the middle stages by a score of 16-12. However, down the stretch seniors Morgan Bridgers and Anna Sandler stepped up to propel Union Pines to a 25-21 win.
Bridgers finished with a match-high 16 assists on the night, along with six digs, three aces and four kills, while Sandler tallied five kills and two blocks.
Union Pines jumped out to a quick 16-10 lead in the third and final set behind strong net play from senior Crystal Hicks and junior Zazil Porras.
Hicks had seven kills, two blocks, six digs, an ace and three service winners for Union Pines, while Porras finished with three kills, two blocks, three digs and three service winners.
Usually net play is the Vikings’ strong point as a team, according to Fish, but through the first two games, Union Pines did not display an edge there on offense or defense.
“I took some notes during the game,” Fish said, “and we usually always play good at the net, but I don’t think we played well at the net at all.
“That is where we are the strongest with Crystal, and Tiffany (Hicks) in the middle and blocking, and that didn’t come through for us at the beginning. I was happy that they were able to find a way to win by doing the other things.
“I was also pleased with our serving. Its been a little shaky at times, but tonight I feel like that is what we did the best. So I am proud of them for pulling together and winning in three (sets) by doing stuff (on the court) we don’t normally do so well.”
Union Pines hosted Purnell Swett Tuesday. The Vikings return to action Monday, with a home match against Terry Sanford.
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