Lady Falcons keep hot start going
In two battles of the Falcons Tuesday evening at Lee Christian School, Lee Christian's volleyball team and O'Neal's soccer team both remained perfect on their seasons.
Sanford's Lady Falcons got rolling midway through the first set and stayed in control for a 25-18, 25-14, 25-16 win over O'Neal (1-1). Lee Christian (3-0) hasn't dropped a set in its three victories.
The Falcons from Southern Pines cruised on the pitch. O'Neal (3-0) scored five goals in the first 16 minutes and went on to beat Lee Christian (1-2-1) 9-0. O'Neal has outscored opponents 18-1 in its three matches so far.
In the gym, Lee Christian had to bounce back from O'Neal gaining a lead in the opening set, then from an injury to a key player.
Outside hitter Kelsey Clayton was forced out to due a knee injury. She came back on for part of the third set. Overall though, even with having to ad lib who played outside hitter, head coach Tracie Bowers was proud of her Lady Falcons.
"The thing I like most about this team is in the face of adversity, they stick together and play together. This team's spirit is a never say die spirit," Bowers said.
A 7-0 Lee Christian run on Carlee Whitt's service put Lee Christian ahead 16-13 in the first set. Whitt put in a couple aces while Haley Draughn's setting got Lee Christian in a good rhythm.
O'Neal closed within a 19-18 deficit before a Lee Christian side out, then Brooke Young serving out the rest of the set. Cameron Dubuc scored kills for points 24 and 25.
Lee Christian didn't need another comeback the rest of the way. The Lady Falcons took a 13-5 lead, which continued on to 20-8, in the second set. Lee Christian took a 16-8 lead in the third set. O'Neal closed in with a 5-0 run but three points was as close as the margin got.
"The girls are playing really well. They're practicing well, and so they're playing well," Bowers said.
"We say, the way you train is the way you'll play. In practice, they take pride in not letting balls hit the floor," she said.
Lee Christian started its regular season winning two matches and the tourney title at the Bulldog Classic Friday and Saturday in Fayetteville.
Draughn set 14 assists for Lee Christian. Dubuc had seven kills and Mak Bowers had five. Lenorria Holmes had three blocks.
Lee Christian travels to play Village Christian at 5:30 p.m. this evening. O'Neal's next match is home versus Lee Christian on Sept. 4.
On the pitch, O'Neal took the lead with Mason Sullivan's goal 0:19 into the match.
Practically straight from the kickoff, O'Neal passed its way through the Lee Christian midfield and back lines leading to Spencer Sullivan slotting a pass in for Mason Sullivan who was alone near the penalty kick spot to shoot just inside the base of the right post.
Lee Christian seemed to regroup a little before a blitz of four O'Neal goals in seven minutes.
Borja Varleo started what turned into a hat trick off an assist by Gates Moore in the ninth minute.
Varleo scored again in the 11th minute and less than 60 seconds later, Varleo nearly struck again but the rebounded save off keeper Brent Godfrey was tucked into the net by Spencer Sullivan making it 4-0 O'Neal. Mason Sullivan scored his second goal in the 16th minute.
O'Neal's attacks in the Lee Christian penalty area picked up again about 12 minutes into the second half. Brian Subin, Moore, Hunter Massey and Varleo's third goal added up to a 9-0 final.
Lee Christian will be back on the field at Village Christian at 3:30 p.m. Friday. O'Neal's next match will be at home versus Lee Christian on Sept. 4.