Vikes Celebrate Senior Night Win
The Union Pines Lady Viking volleyball team celebrated senior night with a convincing straight-set league victory Thursday over the Western Harnett Eagles at Bob Ward Gymnasium.
Before the match Vike seniors Brittney Erickson and Kelsey Troyer were joined on-court by their families as they were honored with a special ceremony.
Both Erickson and Troyer played key roles in a strong performance by Union Pines, which improved to 12-9 overall and 6-4 in league play with the 25-23, 25-17 and 25-13 Cape Fear Valley Conference win.
“It was jitters to begin with for me,” said Troyer. “The more I thought about it the more sad I got because this was the last home game I am ever going to play here. Now (after the game) it is kind of overwhelming.
“Everything is going through my mind — just so many emotions. This was my last regular-season game here but we still have more season to go so I am not too disappointed because there is still lots to play for. I am so excited for the conference tournament. I want it for this team and coach (Leslie Fish) so bad.”
After falling behind 13-7 in the first set of the match, the Vikings swiftly straightened their sails. A nine-to-three run spurred on by strong hitting from Troyer, keen blocking from Tiffany Hicks, timely defense by Erickson and spot-on setting from sophomore Megan Harris resulted in a tie at 16-all
From there Union Pines forged ahead, picking up two kills apiece from Troyer and sophomore Charlotte Holder and three digs by Erickson to take the first game by a 25-23 tally.
The next two games saw Union Pines push full steam ahead as the Vikings dominated the action at the net to take the match in a sweep.
A three-year starter, who transferred to Union Pines from Japan prior to her sophomore season, Erickson was reflective after the Viking victory.
“My initial feeling is that I am going to miss it,” said Erickson. “Coming here from Japan was a big transition, but this team welcomed me from the start and I felt very comfortable with the girls and coach Fish.
“Senior night was just great. All I asked for was for everybody to come out, try their hardest and have fun. That is what they did and we won.”
The win was a critical one for Union Pines, which dropped a five-set match to league leader Southern Lee (11-1, 9-1 CFVC) after taking a two game to one lead Tuesday in Sanford. Currently the Vikings are in sole possession of third place in the conference standings, two games behind Overhills (9-9, 8-2).
Gray’s Creek is in the fourth spot with a conference mark of 5-5, while Western fell to the sixth spot at 4-7 in league play with the loss.
After the match Fish spoke about her two senior captains.
“Both of these girls are critical to our team and they will be missed for sure,” said Fish. “Kelsey is athletic and can play anywhere. She has long legs, longs arms and moves well. The thing I always tell her is ‘I put you in a spot because I know you can do it.’ I have been telling her that for three years now and she has really produced with consistent play here lately.”
Troyer finished with seven kills and four digs on the night for the Vikings. Holder also had seven kills, while Hicks had five kills and four blocks. Freshman Alex Prots led the Vikes with nine kills and Harris had a match-high 23 assists.
Erickson led Union Pines on the night with 11 digs and chipped in two kills to go along with an ace.
“Brittney is sort of like an extension of me out on the floor,” said Fish. “Her nature is a lot like mine — very competitive and fiery. She is a natural leader and has been a great addition to the program.”
The Vikings have an open date Tuesday but return to the court Thursday in Westover to close out the regular season with a doubleheader against the Wolverines, who are 2-8 in CFVC play.
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