Vikings Drop Close One to Bulldogs
Despite an inspired performance, Union Pines dropped a five-set volleyball match to the visiting Terry Sanford Bulldogs Wednesday at Bob Ward Gymnasium.
In the first set the Bulldogs (11-2) seemed intent on making it a quick night as they jumped out to 17-10 lead on their way to a 25-17 win. Terry Sanford tallied 15 kills in that set and looked poised to sweep Union Pines.
But a combination of attacking errors from the visitors and aggressive, organized play by the Vikes led to Union Pines taking the second set by a 25-16 tally. A strong service run by senior Kelsey Troyer pushed the lead from 3-2 to 11-3 early.
The margin expanded to 14-5 before the Bulldogs bit back, trimming the lead to 15-10. From there Union Pines capitalized on more sloppy offensive play from Terry Sanford and some strong defense in the back by Brittney Erickson, Megan Harris and Brook Phillips to secure the set.
The third set was a closely contested one from the start, featuring seven ties and seven lead changes. After holding a 16-14 edge midway through the game, Union Pines dropped eight of the next nine points to trail 22-17. However the Lady Vikes dug deep. Sophomore middle blocker Charlotte Holder led the late charge with three kills and a block as Union Pines finished the set on a 5-1 run to push ahead two games to one in the match.
Game four saw Terry Sanford bounce back in fine fashion as the club continuously attacked from the far left side of the net on its way to a dominating 25-14 set-four victory. That momentum carried over into the fifth and final set with the Bulldogs jumping out to an early 8-3 lead, but Union Pines still had one run left.
The Vikings came out of a time out trailing by the 8-3 margin and proceeded to claim five of the next seven points to make the score 10-8 in favor of the Bulldogs. In the end Terry Sanford had one final run of its own to claim the final set by a score of 15-9 and earn the five-set victory.
With the nonconference win the 4-A Bulldogs completed a regular-season series sweep of Union Pines. Terry Sanford topped the Vikings in three straight sets 25-13, 25-20 and 25-13 earlier in the season. Coming into that first meeting Union Pines was 5-1. After the loss the Viking dropped four of their next five matches.
Although her team came up just short, Union Pines head coach Leslie Fish was proud of the effort they put forth.
“We have been talking a lot about effort lately,” said Fish. “At the start of this week we set some goals as I asked the girls what they wanted at the end of this week and they all agreed they were going to give 100-percent effort whenever we were on the floor and that we wanted to finish it 3-0. I think they played today like they wanted to win that match and they never gave up.”
Union Pines started the week with a 25-20, 25-11, 20-25 and 25-21 league victory against Western Harnett Tuesday in Lillington. The victory saw the Vikes move to 2-3 in conference play and snap a four-game losing skid. With the Wednesday loss to Terry Sanford Union Pines’ record moved to 7-7 on the season. The squad closed the week out Thursday in Cameron by playing host to cross-county rival The O’Neal School in another nonconference tilt.
The Vikings are back in action Tuesday, Sept. 18, in a league match against Westover at Union Pines at 5:30 p.m.
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