DENVER –– Lincoln Charter couldn’t quite close things out the last time it met Cherryville. Not only did it seal the deal this time, but it took over second place in the process.
Madi NeeSmith had seven kills and accounted for 12 points, and Christina Famulari had three kills and 10 points to help the Eagles down the Ironmen 3-1 in a Southern Piedmont 1A Conference volleyball game on Tuesday.
Lincoln Charter fell 3-2 at Cherryville on Sept. 5 after losing a commanding two-sets-to-none lead.
The meltdown was fresh on the Eagles’ minds, and so was gaining some ground in the league standings.
The win broke what was virtually a three-way tie for second between Lincoln Charter, Cherryville and Bessemer City, which was idle Tuesday.
All three teams entered Tuesday trailing Community School of Davidson (9-0 SP1A) with three league losses each. Now, in terms of percentage points, the Eagles (12-3, 7-3) hold a half-game lead on the Yellow Jackets (6-3 SP1A) while the Ironmen fell to 5-4 in conference play.
“When we played down there and won the first two games I think we got a little overconfident,” Eagles coach Rick Rose said. “This (win) was big-time.”
After withstanding Cherryville’s initial push to take Set 1 25-16, errors did Lincoln Charter in in Set 2.
The Ironmen took the set 25-13, 17 points of which were given up by the Eagles due to mistakes.
They battled back to take Set 3 25-19, then ran away with the fourth and deciding set 25-11 due in part to nine errors by the Ironmen.
“They just took us out of our gameplan when we played up there,” Rose said, “but here, I think we knew what to expect so we tried to cover it.”
Erica Mullis had four kills and eight points, Tessa Carr had four kills and nine points and Gabby Powers had four aces as the Eagles’ balanced attack outshined Cherryville’s Rajah Key, who tallied four kills, three aces, three blocks and accounted for 16 of its 27 offensive points.
Caitlin Hay had five kills and three aces for Cherryville, which committed 21 errors in the last two sets compared to 11 in the first two.
As the season winds down –– the NCHSAA playoffs begin Oct. 19 –– Rose knows it’s important to finish at, or near, the top.
The conference will get four playoff berths, but only the top two are guaranteed a first-round home game.
“I’m trying to get a home court playoff position,” Rose said. “That’s what’s important.”