DENVER — The East Lincoln Mustangs volleyball team was unable to serve up a win against the visiting Mountain Heritage Lady Cougars over the weekend during the N.C. High School Athletic Association state volleyball playoffs on Saturday. The Lady Mustangs fell to the Lady Cougars after three sets of play.
ELHS fell behind their competitors, scoring 16 against Mountain Heritage’s 25 during the first two sets. The Mustangs’ libero, senior Sabrina Hepton, walked away with only three digs, alongside senior Mustang Molly Caldwell, who finished with five. Hepton seemed more focused on setting up plays with her teammates, with the Lady Mustangs often hitting the ball the full three times before returning it back over the net.
The Cougars, however, had a different technique.
Mountain Heritage’s strategy rallied around Taylor Parker — the big-hit spiker who left the ELHS girls stunned more than once in each set.
“We played against a very strong and energetic team,” Mustangs’ coach Stacy Possert told the Times-News after the game. “Our serving was good, but we could’ve done a lot better; they were just a stronger team.”
Senior Kara Solick completed 16 attacks against the hard-hitting competitors, along with senior Jennifer Allison and junior Mustang Taylor Wilson who also added six attacks to the team’s average.
Almost-saves by Hepton helped keep her teammates motivated in all three sets, but repeated hard smacks by Parker kept the Mustangs behind. For every save or graceful move by junior Cassidy Whisnant, a Cougar returned with a stronger play and more powerful hit.
After losing the first two sets, the Lady Mustangs came out stronger in what would be the last of the day, meeting the Cougars step-for-step. But it was only a matter of time before Mountain Heritage and their star spiker were slamming points against East Lincoln left and right.
The Cougars walked away with a third winning set, 25-10, in the playoff game, taking the Mustangs out of the running.