LAURINBURG — The Lady Scots volleyball team is still a work in progress six games into the season, but first-year head coach Mallory Wheeler is confident her team has the ability to keep up with any team.
As long as they don’t allow lesser teams distract them.
That was the case on Wednesday as the Lady Scots struggled to close out their third and final set against non-conference opponent Southern Lee.
The Lady Scots were ahead 24-15 when Southern Lee went on a 4-0 run, with some help from mental errors by the Lady Scots. Wheeler called a time out and her message to her team was simple — finish the game.
“I told them, there is no sense in this. You have one point to go — finish this,” she said. “When we’re playing a team like this you have to play your game, don’t stoop down to their level. You have to make your side as polish as it can be, even if their side isn’t. Don’t give them any hope they can beat you because they shouldn’t.”
On the following play, the Lady Scots earned the match point they needed to finish off Southern Lee, 25-19. The Lady Scots easily took the first set, 25-7 before struggling to pick up a 25-16 win in the second set.
The two teams met last week in Sanford and the Lady Scots also won that match in three sets.
The Lady Scots opened conference play last Thursday will a trip to Hope Mills to take on Jack Britt. The match went five sets and saw the Lady Buccaneers narrowly beat the Lady Scots 3-2. The Lady Scots took the first set, 25-18 before Jack Britt stormed back to take the second set, 25-17. The margin narrowed in the third set with Jack Britt edging the Lady Scots, 25-22.
A fourth set victory, 25-22, by the Lady Scots forced a fifth set. The back and forth between the two teams continued as the Lady Scots dropped the final set by four points, 11-15.
“We played Jack Britt last week to open conference play. We took them to five and they are a great team. During that match I saw our team play with heart that I’ve never seen from them,” Wheeler said. “It was a heart breaker. I think it was a good learning experience and we showed a lot of growth there.”
The Lady Scots then headed to Pembroke on Tuesday where they downed Purnell Swett, 3-1. For unknown reasons, the game was played at Pembroke Middle School instead of Purnell Swett High School — the lower ceilings in the middle school caused some issues for both teams.
The ball bounced off the rafters numerous times through the match, which caused errors for both teams that resulted in points for the opposing team. Purnell Swett took the first set of the match 25-23 before the Lady Scots regrouped and won the next three, 25-18, 25-19 and 25-13.
“We beat Purnell, but I think we could have played a little bit better against them,” said Wheeler. “It was a little bit of a weird environment because we were at Pembroke Middle School. We started a little slow and they took a game from us that I don’t think they should have.”
Back-to-back wins have proven to be a confidence boost for the Lady Scots, but Wheeler knows they will face tougher opponents as the season goes on and they need to be prepared.
“There are things we need to work on , but we’re getting in a groove and finding what works,” she said. “The girls are learning to grind through some tough situations, but we still need to find a balance and not go up and down so much in our games.”
The Lady Scots hosted Hoke on Thursday to finish out their week. Following the Labor Day holiday, the Lady Scots host Seventy-First on Tuesday, Gray’s Creek on Wednesday and Pinecrest on Thursday. All three are home games, both conference games begin at 5 p.m. and the match against Gray’s Creek will begin with JV action at 4:30 p.m.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.