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Lady Knights move to 6-0

VALE — The Lady Knights volleyball team rolled off its sixth consecutive victory of the season and is now 3-0 in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference after a 3-1 (25-21, 24-26, 25-16 and 25-18) defeat of West Lincoln on Tuesday.
“West Lincoln is tough, every time we play them they’re going to be scrappy and go for the ball. They’ve got good servers and the first two couple of games were pretty close, it could’ve gone either way,” North Lincoln head volleyball coach Lynn Rhyne said of the match. “We’re going to have to work hard throughout the whole season, nothing is going to be given to us. We’ve got to come together and work and West Lincoln played a good ball game.”
Rhyne said the play of her underclassmen has helped her team obtain a hot start, which she hopes continues.
“We’ve got a lot of young girls. My seniors are really not the ones playing, I’ve got a lot of young ones, but they’re really coming together and hitting well,” the Knights coach said. “They’re filling spots that we left from Ashley (Thackeray), Emily (Torbert) and Annalise (Farris), so we’ve got a lot of girls filtered and come in to fill those spots; they’ve doing a really good job but they’re young.”
For West Lincoln (3-2, 2-1) it was new volleyball head coach Lea Powell’s first conference loss of the season. The team opened SPC play with wins over Cherryville and Challenger.
Tuesday, however, was a challenge for both teams as the Lady Rebels never quit and made North earn every point in their four-game victory.
“Defensively, I thought we played great and I think what killed us is our serves,” the West Lincoln head coach explained. “That’s a good group of girls that we played against but we whooped them in a scrimmage so we’ve shown we can play with them and we’ll bounce back from this game.”
North Lincoln started Game 1 off with a 3-0 run and ended up with a close 25-21 win. West Lincoln got as close as one, trailing 6-5 early but the Lady Knights gave themselves a four-point advantage during senior Kelli Baker’s (3 ace serves) serving.
The Lady Rebels made a late comeback run down from six to make it a three-point deficit but North was able to hold to take the first set.
West Lincoln’s biggest lead was two points but it was enough for their only set win as they back down from 20-22 for a 26-24 win in Game 2.
A key block by sophomore Jamie Harkey (2 aces, 4 kills, 3 blocks and 1 dig) gave West a 1-point cushion and senior Ashley Rhyne’s (1 ace) floater over the middle gave the Lady Rebels a chance, evening up the score one game apiece.
In Game 3 North held an early 8-1 lead and held on for a 25-16 win. A block and kill by junior Addy Pound (1 ace, 5 kills, 1 block, 1 dig, 1 assist) and sophomore Delainey Farris (4 aces, 6 kills) aided an early seven-point lead.
West Lincoln fought back hard and made things interesting as they came back to trail by two (9-11) behind the serving of Harkey. North widened its lead 23-13 after Baker’s serving and then finished West off for a nine-point victory.
With momentum on their side the Lady Knights finished West Lincoln off with a seven-point win. North overcame a 3-2 disadvantage and went up 10-6 then cruised late for the game-clinching match.
Rhyne said Farris, sophomore Lainey Livernois (4 aces, 1 kill, 1 dig) and junior Jill Baxter (1 ace, 2 kills) all stood out for North and helped aid the team to victory.
“I thought my hitters were doing a really good job; they wouldn’t give up, they continued hitting even when they missed a few,” the North coach explained. “The girls that needed to come through serving, came through when they needed to and the team played a really good ball game; they shook off the second game and came back well the third and fourth game.”
Despite the loss Powell said her team played with a lot of heart but still had some work to do as the team would practice more on serving. Overall she said she was proud of her team and noted they would be ready for a rematch with North next time.
North Lincoln will host Bunker Hill at 4:30 p.m. today and Cherryville on Thursday.
West Lincoln will travel Thursday to take on Highland Tech at 4:30 p.m.by Michael Christopher

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