PHS Volleyball Victorious on Senior Night
The contagious joyfulness of the Pinecrest volleyball players spread around James Moore Gym as they warmed up for Wednesday’s Senior Night match against Overhills.
Four of the seven seniors honored before the first serve have competed with each other in various sports since they were in elementary school. Combined with some strong performances by underclassmen, the Patriots improved to 20-2 with a 25-12, 25-13 and 25-15 nonconference victory over the Jaguars.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” senior libero Keegan Lynch said afterward. “We’re used to playing together, especially me, Felicia, Megan and Janea. We just wanted to make sure we had fun and played together because we love playing together.”
In addition to Lynch the seniors honored were Felicia Painter, Megan Thomas, Janea Williams, Amber Goodwin, Mary Grace Phipps and team manager Jessica Marsh.
Phipps, Thomas, Painter, Lynch and junior Madison Walling combined for seven aces as the Patriots put the Jags on their heels in the one-sided opening set. There were more long service runs in the second set combined with the hitting of Goodwin and Williams. Williams excited Patriot fans with four emphatic kills in a row late in the game.
“They were up from the beginning,” Patriot coach Barbara Foxx said. “The juniors sort of decorated the gym for them and put up posters for Senior Night. So the seniors didn’t have to do anything but show up and play.”
The sophomores and juniors, who will have big shoes to fill next year, got into the act in the third set. Junior Katie Smith served for 11 points in a row, and sophomore Olivia McKinney contributed four kills.
“It was a memorable moment,” Williams said of the special night. “We wanted to come out and play well for our families and everyone that has supported us.”
Sophomore middle blocker Alysha Gaffney talked about how the seniors opened up to the underclassmen and made them feel a part of the team.
“This is a fun group of girls that have made the season really enjoyable,” she said. “They’ve taught us a lot, and that’s definitely helping us for next season.”
There is still plenty more to go in this one. With a league record of 7-2 in the 4-A Southeastern Conference, the Patriots were scheduled to wrap up league play at Hoke County on Thursday. They will go into next week’s conference tournament as the second seed behind undefeated Scotland County.
Foxx reflected some more on the seniors who have hopes of advancing deep in the state tournament this year.
“You can’t ask for a better group of girls,” she said. “They like each other and want each other to succeed. They keep pushing each other to be better and you can’t beat that.”
The Patriot jayvee team improved to 15-6 with a 25-19 and 25-17 win agains Overhills.
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