LAURINBURG — For the first time since 2013 the Lady Scots volleyball team is riding a five-game win streak. Their latest victory came in a hard fought three-set match against Gray’s Creek on Wednesday.
A day earlier, the Lady Scots easily handled Seventy-First in three sets, 25-8, 25-14 and 25-18. The level of competition with Gray’s Creek was much more on par with what first-year head coach Mallory Wheeler was hoping for leading up to the Lady Scots showdown with Pinecrest.
“I could not be happier that we played this team and not Seventy-First going into Pinecrest,” she said. “It’s a big match, we’re on a winning streak that hasn’t happened much for us in the past. I’m excited but they know it’s game time Thursday.”
The Lady Scots and Gray’s Creek were neck and neck through the first set, trading points back and forth. Three aces in a row from senior Ashley McGugan gave the Lady Scots their biggest lead of the match, 13-11 before the Lady Bears came charging back.
Gray’s Creek took a two point lead, 18-16, late in the first set but kills by Nahir Pegues, a kill by McGugan and a solo block tied the match at 19.
The Lady Bears called a time out after the Lady Scots went up 22-21, two more points to the Lady Scots forced the Gray’s Creek coach to call a second time out. The tactic worked and Gray’s Creek scored three answered points before a serve into the net at 25-24 gave the Lady Scots the ball back.
A misstep by Gray’s Creek’s defense secured the 26-24 first-set win for the Lady Scots. Getting that first-set win according to Wheeler was huge for her team.
“I think getting that first set win was really important, it was neck and neck the whole game. We went up a little bit then down and it was hard to stretch a big run,” she said. “I think getting that confident in taking that first game into the next really helped us out.”
After taking a commanding 9-3 lead in the second set, the Lady Scots left the door open for Gray’s Creek near the end of the match. The Lady Bears went on a 6-0 run to come within two points of the Lady Scots, 19-17, before Wheeler called a timeout.
Another Gray’s Creek jump serve into the net gave Lady Scots sophomore Abby Quick the opportunity to record back-to-back aces to put her team up 22-17. A kill to the corner of the Gray’s Creek defense by senior Kandon Luquer ended the match with a 25-20 Lady Scots win.
The final set was less of a nail biter than the previous two as the Lady Scots found their groove to pick up the 3-0 win with an impressive 25-15 third set.
“Against Seventy-First a win is a win we’ll take it, but definitely a better team (tonight). We played a lot better against a good team,” said Wheeler. “Started off a little slow, possibly some momentum rolling in from Tuesday, I know they are tired but we had a couple little pep talks and they played their hearts out.”
The Lady Scots wrap up their week with a home match against Sandhills Athletic Conference rival Pinecrest at home on Thursday.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.