Lady Jackets win CFVC tournament crown
Lee County’s volleyball team completed a championship sweep in its first Cape Fear Valley Conference season Wednesday night, besting Union Pines in the CFVC Tournament final, 25-18, 22-25, 25-14, 25-19.
The Lady Yellow Jackets (16-4) won the season title on the last night of the regular season last week, with a victory versus Southern Lee. The Jackets went back and forth against No. 3-seeded Union Pines in the final until seizing momentum for good early in the third set just after the Lady Vikings (16-7) took the second set.
While Lee County was a newcomer to 3A and the CFVC, the titles come from a core of the team which has worked toward this throughout the last couple seasons.
“We talked about it before the game,” said Lee County head coach Cindy Kelly.
“This is new ground and they’re the ones who blazed the trail,” she said.
The Lady Vikings jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the opening set. Union Pines had success early with setter Megan Harris assisting to Stephanie Johnson at the center of the net and Alex Prots outside.
Lee County stormed back with a 13-2 run. Senior Chandler Patterson served an 8-0 run to put the Jackets up 18-11. Senior Meggan Rose added two kills in the run. Patterson had three kills and Ally Davis had two kills in the set.
The Lady Vikings led throughout the second set. Lee County scored three straight points to get within a 13-11 UP lead before a diving, swinging dig by Prots hit the net cord and trickled down for a Viking kill. Harris built on the energy with back-to-back aces. Lee County fought off four set points before the Lady Vikings got the last point to tie the match.
Lee County scored the first six points, with Patterson doing the serving and two Rose kills in the run, to open set three.
The Lady Jackets kept a safe lead from there. Clay Fowler, who finished with 28 assists, set up five teammates for kills in the set. Patterson and Rose had three kills each.
“We started doing a smarter job at the net and communicated more on the back row. The team just did what we needed to do to win,” Kelly said.
The Lady Vikings made closing out the match tough. A 5-0 Jacket run gave Lee County a 12-8 lead. The Jackets were rolling until a 4-0 Union Pines run cut the Jacket lead to 19-17.
Emily Stanley scored with a smartly-placed deep shot to earn a side out. Patterson hammered a spike down to make it 21-17 Lee County and two points turned out to be as close as the Lady Vikings got.
Senior Madison Blakley served two winning points to bring the Jackets to a 24-18 lead, then a Viking shot falling wide ended the match.
Fowler had 28 assists for the Lady Jackets. Patterson had nine kills and Rose had eight kills. Stanley had eight kills, four aces and two blocks. Davis added four kills and three assists.
For the Lady Vikings, Harris totaled 20 assists, six aces and five kills. Prots led the UP hitting with 10 kills.
“We executed well,” Kelly said. “We knew we had to get our offense started and Clay Fowler did a good job running the offense and the back row picked up the defense in the third game.
“They just a really good job and all played together,” she said, “I couldn’t be more proud of a group of girls.”
The Yellow Jackets move on to some more rare ground, hosting a state tournament match as a No. 1 seed in the first round of the NCHSAA 3A State Tournament on Saturday. Terry Sanford, Union Pines and Southern Lee are the other CFVC qualifiers for the state tournament.