Three conference matches coming up this week will go a long way toward determining whether the Sandhills Community College volleyball team wraps up another Region X regular-season title.
The Lady Flyers took a step toward that goal by sweeping Rockingham CC 25-10, 25-15 and 25-7 in Saturday’s 11 a.m. opener of a conference doubleheader, and 25-9, 25-9 and 25-9 in the afternoon contest. They have won six matches in a row, improving to 13-9 overall and 4-0 in Region X.
With four conference matches remaining, there is little margin for error. After traveling to Wake Tech (11-4) for a nonconference match Tuesday, the Flyers entertain Central Carolina CC (2-4 Region X) at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday). That will be the team’s annual Pink Out fundraiser in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
A tri-match involving the three contenders follows on Saturday in Martinsville, Va. Patrick Henry CC, 3-1 in the conference, including a loss to the Flyers, hosts Flyers coach Alicia Riggan’s squad at 11 a.m.
Sandhills and Patrick Henry then play Southwest Virginia CC, 2-1 in the conference, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. The final conference match for the Flyers is at home against Southwest Virginia a week later.
The Region X regular-season champion earns the top seed for the Region X Tournament held at Rockingham CC Oct. 26. The winner there hosts the other five qualifying teams from Regions X, XII and XX at the Mid-Atlantic A-B District Tournament Nov. 1-2.
Then it gets really big. The winner and runner-up qualify for the national tournament in Rochester, Minn., Nov. 14-16.
“We’ve gone through everybody except Southwest,” Riggan said after the two wins over Rockingham. “It’s going to be exciting to work toward our next goals.”
With only seven players, and none taller than 5-foot-8, the Eagles could not contain the Flyer hitters. Led by national offensive player of the week Carley Modlin, who was credited with 18 kills in each match, the kill percentages of .316 in the first and .420 in the second were the team’s highest of the season.
Outside hitter Morrigan Denman continued her effective week of swinging by recording eight kills in each match on a combined total of just 29 attack attempts.
“I think my problem was focusing on hitting it too hard,” the athletic 5-foot-8 product of Seventy-First High School said afterward of her recently more consistent play. “I’ve gotten into the mindset now to not try to smash the ball all of the time even though it’s fun.”
Camryn Lowe (18) and Adison Campbell (17) combined for 35 assists in the tidy second match victory of the day. Christen Clontz was the leader in digs with 11.
“Our big thing is not to just play to win, but we want to get better every single time,” Riggan said. “Today we did a lot with plays and different lineups just to build that confidence.
“It was a slower game and there were times I wasn’t pleased with our play. In the first set we missed six serves, but for the most part I was pleased.”
The Flyers have won 11 of their last 14 after a 2-6 start. In spite of the one-sided nature of Saturday’s games, the Flyer players not on the court continued their practice of providing non-stop chatter and support to their teammates.
“We think it’s a big deal to get hyped on the sideline because you never know when you are coming in,” Denman said. “If you keep that energy up on the side it kind of boosts you when you get on the court.
“I think we’ve come together as a team on and off the court and we’re ready to take care of business.”
Lady Flyers Extra: Defensive specialist Charlotte Herring missed her third and fourth matches in a row because of a concussion.
Region X Standings and overall records — Sandhills 4-0 (13-9), Patrick Henry 3-1 (5-9), Southwest Virginia 3-1 (4-9), Central Carolina 2-4 (2-14) and Rockingham 0-6 (0-11).
This article was provided by the SCC athletics department.