Lady Cavs answer Northwood's charge
Southern Lee won its opening match of the volleyball season Tuesday evening, beating visiting Northwood in four sets, 25-12, 12-25, 25-14, 25-20.
As defending season champs of the Cape Fear Valley and having reached the NCHSAA state tournament last season, both program firsts for the Lady Cavaliers, and now with nearly the same Lady Cav roster back a year older and a year better, head coach Jennifer Goldberg was fine with the win, but not pleased.
After plenty of unforced errors on both sides to start, the Lady Cavaliers took control of the first set with a long service run by Erin Pickens. An 8-0 Southern Lee run made it 20-11. Pickens nailed three aces and Marckee Zimmerman found her rhythm with two big spikes for kills, then a tap shot over a Lady Charger blocker and to the floor making it 20-11.
Southern Lee closed the first set with ease but the momentum stopped there. Northwood jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the next set.
The Lady Cavs got within 14-10. Two blocks and a kill by Alexa Bernard came in a 5-0 Northwood run making the set 19-10. Raven Jordan added three kills in the set.
While Goldberg wouldn’t comment about the coaching between sets two and three, the Lady Cavaliers regained their focus, and got hitting from all over the court, to take sets three and four.
“We still have some things to work on. We certainly have not hit perfection, yet,” Goldberg said.
Sydney Elseth, with three aces included, served the Lady Cavs out to a 5-0 lead in the third set. Northwood fought back to a 7-7 score before a 7-2 Southern Lee run.
Betting passing off of Lady Charger serving let Pickens, the main Lady Cavalier setter, pick up her assist total as the match progressed. Zimmerman, Elseth, Summer Williams and Rachel Wilson made the most of Pickens’ setting.
The Lady Cavaliers cruised through set three. A service run by Zimmerman switched an early Northwood lead around in the fourth set. Southern Lee held the lead from there, but not without a few nerves.
Six straight Lady Charger points, with Alexis Hollis doing the serving and a couple points won by Jordan above the net, cut Southern Lee’s lead to 18-17.
An Elseth kill provided a key side out. Zimmerman smashed down a kill followed by Pickens getting a kill and a Zimmerman ace making it 21-17.
The Lady Chargers got within a 22-20 deficit. Madison Henley got a kill for a side out. Elseth scored with a kill and Williams served a sideline ace on match point.
Skyler Farrell had nine assists and Jordan had seven kills for Northwood. The Lady Chargers (0-1) move on to a match at Jordan-Matthews at 6 p.m. Thursday.
While the Lady Cavaliers are mostly the same squad from a year ago, there are at least a couple of changes Goldberg’s putting in place. First, the lineup is tweeked starting this season. Second, the varsity Lady Cavs are helping lead the JV team, which in turn helps the varsity players.
“The varsity girls are tutoring the JV girls,” Goldberg said.
“When the girls have to lead, and tell the JV players something, they see they should be doing the same thing,” she said.
Pickens set 18 assists and Williams had seven assists and seven kills. Elseth and Zimmerman led the hitting with nine kills each. Pickens and Zimmerman had six aces each and the Lady Cavs totaled 21 aces.
Southern Lee (1-0) quickly goes into Cape Fear Valley play next, traveling to Douglas Byrd Tuesday evening.