Union Pines falls to Person 3-1 in 2nd round of 3A state tournament

Union Pines seniors Faith Driver (5) and Emma Vacha (12) put up a block against Person in the second round of the 2021 NCHSAA 3A Volleyball State Championship.

Adjustments were made, but not quick enough for the Union Pines volleyball team at home Tuesday in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association state playoffs at home.

The end result let visiting Person fight back in the final two sets to claim a four-set win and advance to the third round of the state playoffs to end the Vikings’ season. The Rockets won with set scores of 25-17, 23-25, 25-20 and 25-22.

“All game, we were making the adjustments, it was just one or two points too slow,” Vikings coach Felicia Marks said. “The first two sets, we started really slow, and the last two sets we started out on fire and let Person make runs.”

Marks said the first-set loss provided a wake-up moment for the team that carried into the closely contested second set. The Rockets (16-5) led the nearly the entirety of the second set, but never than by a six-point spread. The Vikings fought back to tie the set four times near the end, and scored the last two points for the 25-23 win.

“We kind of came out and I could see their desire to win. They knew by dropping that first set that it was game time,” Marks said. “This team, we can’t give them an inch or they will take a mile. We took the mile. They gave us an inch there at the last couple points and we took advantage.”

In their final high school volleyball match, Union Pines (20-6) seniors Gianna Silvestri, Emma Vacha, Taylor Parker and Faith Driver went down swinging.

Vacha had 16 blocks and 12 kills in the loss. Silvestri added nine kills, 19 digs and three aces. Driver dished out 24 assists and had 14 digs. Parker finished with eight kills and 19 digs.

“We have a lot to be proud of this year. The four seniors, Faith, Emma, G and Taylor, we couldn’t have gotten this far without them,” Marks said. “There were lots of changes this year. Coaching change, conference change, everything change, and for us to be able to do what we did and finish out one of the best seasons I’ve ever been a part of has been amazing.”

Marks also commented on the future of the program with showings from players like Birsi Gonzalez with a team-high 20 digs.

“As a coach, my wheels are already spinning about what we can do next year,” Marks said. “It’s good to show our underclassmen and our juniors what it takes to get to a point like that and to get to the state playoffs.”

Patriots Swatted by Middle Creek

The Pinecrest volleyball team lost in three sets at home in the second round of the 4A state playoffs to end its season against Middle Creek.

The Patriots lost by scores of 25-18, 25-17 and 25-21.

Leading Pinecrest (21-2) on the court in the loss was senior Emmie Modlin with 23 digs and 11 kills. Fellow senior Grace Lyons chipped in 10 kills and five digs.

Junior setter Sydney Karjala had 20 assists, 13 digs and five kills and junior Sydney Garner had 15 assists.

Junior Caroline Bradford had nine kills and Karsen Corbett added five kills.

Viking Tennis Into Third Round

The Union Pines girls tennis team advanced to next week’s third round of the 3A dual team state playoffs with a 7-2 win at Croatan Tuesday.

The Vikings won in the Nos. 1 through 5 singles matches to take the match, and then added two doubles wins to set up a match at Terry Sanford Monday.

Tyne Ross and Lily Slyman won their singles matches on court Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in straight sets and then won 8-4 in No. 1 doubles.

Becca Cameron won in straight sets at No. 3 singles, and then teamed up with McKayla Kirk for an 8-3 win in No. 2 doubles.

Kirk won in a tie-breaking third set in the No. 5 singles match, and so did Abby Robertson in No. 4 singles.

Union Pines, Pinecrest Bounced from Soccer Tourney

Losses on Tuesday by Union Pines and Pinecrest in the semifinals of the Sandhills Athletic Conference boys soccer tournament means both teams will be sitting and waiting for playoff seeding set for Friday.

Union Pines lost 4-0 to Lee County on the road, while Pinecrest was defeated in penalty kicks by Southern Lee.

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