Viking Netters Start with Wins
The Union Pines volleyball team opened the 2012 season with a pair of matches on the road, starting with Richmond Senior Monday. The young Lady Viking squad, with only three seniors, coasted to a 3-0 victory over the Lady Raiders.
Two days later, the Vikings journeyed to West Montgomery, where they found the competition a lot more challenging. After rallying to win the first game 25-22, the host Lady Warriors won the next two games for a 2-1 lead.
But the Vikings regrouped to win the fourth game 25-21, sending the match into a fifth and deciding contest. Union Pines, behind the serving of sophomore Ashlyn Owens, broke open a tight game, blitzing the Warriors 15-8 for a 3-2 victory.
“We played well when we needed to,” said Union Pines head coach Leslie Fish, who is starting her seventh season as the head coach. “We used a lot of players trying to find the right mix or chemistry. We have three seniors and one other player that has a lot of varsity experience, so we’re trying to find out where the kids play well and in what type of situations. We’re still trying to find a rotation that is best for the team.”
The first game of the West Montgomery match was nip-and-tuck, with neither team able to gain more than a three-point lead throughout the game.
The scoring was back-and-forth until late in the game, when the Warriors took a 21-18 advantage. Behind senior Brittney Erickson’s serving, the Vikings trimmed the lead to one and then the Warriors went up 22-20. After a West miscue, their lead fell to 22-21, and that’s when sophomore Megan Harris went on a four-point serving rally for the 25-22 Viking victory.
The second game of the match played out pretty much like the opening game, with neither side able to gain much of a advantage, with the exception of the Warriors taking a couple of five-point leads midway during the game.
Late in the game, the Vikings found themselves trailing 21-18 only to rally, tying the game at 23 by getting some strong net play from junior Tiffany Hicks. But the Warriors were able to tally the needed two points for the 25-23 win, tying the match at 1-1.
In the third game of the match, it appeared the Vikings came out a little flat and unfocused, and the Warriors made Union Pines pay for it in racing to a 25-12 win.
“After that third game, we had to get ourselves ready for the fourth game and refocus in the huddle,” said Fish. “I was proud of the way they responded and didn’t quit and found a way to win.”
Once again the game started out with the two teams swapping the lead until Viking freshman Alex Prots served a couple of aces, along with a couple of Warrior errors, putting Union Pines up 14-8. The Vikings were able to hold on to their five- to six-point leads until West cut it to four a couple of times.
With Union Pines leading 24-20, Hicks ended the game with a kill and the 25-21 victory, setting the stage for the fifth game. With Owens’ serving and critical West errors, the Vikings won the fifth game easily.
In the junior varsity match before the varsity match, the Warriors won by 25-15 and 25-13 scores.
Union Pines 3, Richmond Senior 0: The Vikings swept Richmond 25-13, 25-18 and 25-12.
“It was a good season opener for us,” said Fish. “It was a good chance to work on team chemistry and see how our younger players respond in game situations. Our two freshmen (Alex Prots and Stephanie Johnson) played well and fit in nicely. Our three seniors (Kelsey Troyer, Brittney Erickson and Zazil Porras) are good leaders and did a good job.”
Prots and Troyer led the team with four kills each, and Porras added three kills. Johnson and Tiffany Hicks had three blocks each, and Megan Harris and Charlotte Holder finished with two blocks each. Porras led the team with five aces serving while Erickson had four and Harris two. Harris also led the team with 13 assists.
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