Patriots Bounce Back in Volleyball
Two-and-half sets into Thursday’s volleyball match against Purnell Swett, Pinecrest appeared to be suffering the after effects of losses to Scotland County and Union Pines the previous two evenings.
The match was tied at one set apiece, but the visiting Rams were leading 16-7 in the third when the Patriots came off the mat to win nine points in a row. They went on to take that pivotal set 28-26 and the match 21-25, 25-18, 28-26 and 25-19.
Coach Barbara Foxx’ squad improved to 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference and 11-3 overall, while the Rams fell to 1-2 and 5-4.
“We were definitely out of it,” junior Felicia Painter, who finished with 24 kills, said of the team’s early struggles. “I think we were dwelling on the two games we lost and had to get out of the funk we were in.”
Making the prospects of a Patriot comeback look dim was the way the Ram attackers, led by Jamee Bird, were both winning most of the battles at the net and teeing off on the Patriot back line. But, led by defensive specialist Keegan Lynch, who was credited with 19 digs, the home team mounted the third-game comeback.
“Our back line did a great job tonight,” Painter said. “They did everything you could ask for.”
The tie at 16-16 in the excruciatingly tense third set was the first of 10 down the stretch. Tied at 25-25, Keyasa Martin served, and then made a lunging return of a smash by one of the Rams that found the floor on the other side of the net. The winning point came on a cross-court kill by Ashleigh Welton.
Leading 2-1 in sets, the Patriots fell behind again at 6-1 in the fourth set. Megan Thomas was serving as the Patriots went on a 12-point run that ended with a back-handed flick for a kill at the net by Callie Boone for a 13-6 lead. The second kill in a sequence of three points by Devin Lally made it 20-12. The final point on a kill by Painter was set up by Thomas.
Thomas finished with 19 service points, 22 assists and 10 digs. Boone had 20 assists and 17 digs. Amber Goodwin contributed 11 kills and Welton had seven.
“We knew they were going to be tough,” Painter said of the Ram squad coached by former Union Pines star Corey Marks Deese. “We knew we had to step up and we’re excited we won.”
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