Lady Jackets start strong with a sweep
Lee County got its volleyball season off to a confident start with a sweep, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20, over visiting Pinecrest (1-2) Friday afternoon.
Returning standouts led the way for the Lady Yellow Jackets, who are the defending Cape Fear Valley Conference season and tournament champs. It could be considered expected, but Lee County head coach Cindy Kelly was pleased nonetheless.
"This was great for our first game and with it being Pinecrest's third," Kelly said.
"Our seniors came out and did a great job. Clay (Fowler) and Emily (Stanley), of course, were taking control. I'm very proud of their efforts."
Fowler, the Jackets' primary setter, dished out 23 of her 25 assists in the first two sets as Kelly got to bring in a few more subs and let sophomore Marissa Thomas move to setter, where she tallied four assists in the last set.
Stanley paced the Jacket offense throughout with 13 kills. Sophomore Khaira Bolden, a force at the center of the net for much of the match, had 10 kills and three blocks.
The Lady Patriots, coming in on a 3-0 sweep against Union Pines on Wednesday night, made it tough on Lee County in the first and third sets.
Pinecrest led 8-3 to start the match. Stanley and Bolden found their rhythm with Fowler's setting and the Lady Jackets took control with a 16-5 run which included a long service run by Ally Davis. Bolden had four kills and a block in the last part of the first set.
The big Jacket run really continued into the second set. Stanley and Davis provided points at the net and senior Katy Langston hit three aces in a four-point span as part of Lee County taking a 15-6 lead.
The match seemed headed for more than three sets when Pinecrest rolled off a 15-2 run for a 15-7 lead in the third set.
Lee County answered quickly, even without its full first string on the court. With Thomas serving and doing most of the setting, the Lady Jackets rallied off the last nine points of the match. Stanley, then Fowler as a hitter, put down kills for the last two points.
"We knew Pinecrest is a very good team. They'd be well-coached and it would be a challenge, so we've been working hard throughout the last week to be ready for this game," Kelly said.
Davis added five kills and Langston's three aces led the Jacket serving.
Danika Whitford had five assists, three kills and an ace for Pinecrest. Nicole Barnes had three kills. Veronica Stringfield had two blocks.
Lee County (1-0) played in the Black and Gold Classic at UNC Pembroke Saturday. The Lady Jackets will begin their CFVC schedule at Gray's Creek at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Lee County will visit Pinecrest at 6 p.m. Wednesday.