Lady Jackets keep county trophy
Lee County kept its hold on the Lee Christian All-County Volleyball Tournament trophy for another year, winning it for the third time - all three years of the tournament - Saturday in a four-match marathon of volleyball for the Yellow Jackets, Southern Lee, Lee Christian and Grace Christian.
It wasn’t an easy path for Lee County to defend its title. During the round robin play of the tournament, Lee County split sets with Lee Christian and Southern Lee.
In the championship match, the Lady Jackets fell down a set to the Lady Cavaliers only to regain their momentum and win sets two and three comfortably, 16-25, 25-13, 25-15.
Lee County hitter Chandler Patterson was named Tournament MVP and setter Clay Fowler also made the All-Tournament Team. Fowler’s setting teaming with Patterson and Emily Stanley doing most of the scoring at the net turned the final match in Lee County’s favor.
Fowler finished with 18 assists and three blocks in the final, getting seven assists in each of the last two sets. Stanley had nine kills while Chandler had seven kills and four aces.
The Lady Cavaliers took the lead early in the opening set, with an advantage in serving and hitting over the Lady Jackets early on. Lee County scored four straight points to close within a 17-14 Lady Cavalier lead. Southern Lee answered with its own 4-0 run. Marckee Zimmerman served out the last three points giving the Lady Cavs the set.Patterson’s big hitting at the net and solid serving by libero Katy Langston took the Lady Jackets out to an 8-4 lead in the second set. Lee County kept rolling to a 15-8 lead and weren’t threatened the rest of the way.
It was more of the same in the last set as Lee County jumped out to a 7-2 lead. Southern Lee made a couple runs this time, but twice when the Lady Cavs could’ve closed to a two-point margin, Fowler set up Stanley for kills for important side-out points.
Back-to-back Patterson aces took Lee County’s lead to 20-12 and the run continued to 22-12.
Southern Lee’s Sydney Elseth and Zimmerman made the All-Tournament Team.
While the All-County Tournament is a preseason tune-up for the season ahead, now it’s a preview of conference matches between the Lady Yellow Jackets and Lady Cavaliers as both are in the 3A Cape Fear Valley.
The Lady Cavaliers, trying to build off winning the Cape Fear Valley season title and reaching the first round of the 3A state tournament last season, defeated Lee Christian, 25-14, 25-12, and Grace Christian, 25-11, 25-22, in the pool round.
Lee County and Southern Lee split their first match, 25-14 Lee County, 25-16 Southern Lee. Lee County defeated Grace Christian 25-14, 25-10 and tied with Lee Christian, 25-17 Lee County, 25-20 Lee Christian.
Lee Christian beat Grace Christian 25-21, 25-16 in the round robin part of the day.
The Lady Falcons topped their rivals again in the consolation match, beating the Lady Crusaders 25-22, 24-26, 25-15.
In the first set of the third-place match, five straight Grace Christian points cut Lee Christian’s lead to 20-19. A Lady Crusader net violation ended the 5-0 run. McKenna Parson’s scrambling dig dropped over the net for a Lady Falcon point for 23-19. Haley Draughn’s set and Cameron Dubuc’s kill took set point.
Set two went back and forth. After lead changes early in the set, Grace Christian led 17-15 only for Lee Christian to rally and take a 21-18 lead which became 24-21. The Lady Crusaders fended off three match points and took the set with a 5-0 run on Julia Husk’s serving.
The Lady Falcons gained control and kept it in the tiebreaker set. Kelsey Clayton, at the net, and Dubuc, the libero hitting from the back row, scored two kills each to help Lee Christian to a 6-2 lead. The Lady Falcons kept rolling to a 13-4 lead.
Clayton finished with seven kills and three aces. Draughn totaled 16 assists. Sarah Bowers had six aces and a number of important service runs for the Lady Falcons.
For the Lady Crusaders, Husk had nine assists and Charity Taylor had five kills.
Clayton and Dubuc were the Lady Falcons on the All-Tournament Team and Sadie Gladden and Husk made the team from the Lady Crusaders.
Lee County and Southern Lee start their regular seasons on Tuesday on their home courts. Lee County hosts Pinecrest at 6 p.m. Southern Lee hosts Northwood at 4:30 p.m.
Grace Christian already went 1-1 in regular-season matches last week. The Lady Crusaders will host Hickory Christian Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Lee Christian’s next match is at Village Christian on Aug. 27.