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A pressing priority for the Wilson Christian Academy varsity volleyball team is peaking at the right time.
Head coach Ryan Vanderboegh expressed confidence his Lady Chargers were headed in that direction after dispensing with North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A East Region rival Raleigh Christian, 25-18, 25-13, 25-17 in the Wilson Christian gym Tuesday evening.
Vanderboegh explained WCA played its best match recently in a Florida tournament and, after a week off for the seniors’ trip, thumped East Region foe Faith Christian of Goldsboro, 25-18, 25-14, 25-9 on Monday.
“We are building off that,” Vanderboegh said of the out-of-state performance. “Raleigh Christian is very scrappy and made it hard to score points. But we are starting to talk better and move better. We want to peak at the right time.
The second victory against Raleigh Christian boosted the Lady Chargers to 4-2 in the region and 9-4 overall. WCA visits undefeated Fellowship Christian of Durham on Thursday and is the guest of Neuse Baptist on Friday.
The Lady Chargers opened with an ace from senior Madison Carnes and, after an erratic lull, were jump-started by junior Danielle Reece. Reece’s tip sent WCA ahead for keeps at 8-7 and she followed with three kills. Junior Tori Linkous served for seven successive points and the Lady Chargers breezed to the first-set victory. Junior Paige Barnes blasted the first WCA kill.
“Raleigh Christian is very scrappy and they aren’t a pushover,” Reece commented. “We need to talk more, but our movement is still getting better.”
Of her dominant opening set, Reece said: “Ashley’s (Hartsfield) sets were really good and that really got me going.”
For the second straight match, all the Lady Chargers saw considerable action — with emphasis upon the seniors being on the floor simultaneously. Effective digging from senior setter Hartsfield and senior libero Lydia Renfrow, who was observing her birthday, triggered the Lady Chargers to a 2-0 margin in sets.
The Lady Eagles, unable to resolve coverage problems, were at their scrappiest the final set. Carnes served WCA to a 3-0 cushion, but the under-handed serves of junior Danielle Roberts and the over-handed serves of junior Adrianna Camnaya pushed Raleigh Christian to a 13-11 margin.
However, a kill from top hitter Tori Linkous, a junior, vaulted WCA out front for keeps at 14-13. The advantage climbed to 19-13. After an ace from Linkous, the Lady Chargers ended the match with a winner from senior Kayla Provo.
“In game 1 and most of game 3, we played them more competitively — especially when we fought back and got the lead,” reviewed Raleigh Christian coach Timothy Williams. “They are not the best team we have played, but they are one of the top three teams in our division.”
Reece wound up with eight kills, an ace and 11 digs. Hartsfield provided 22 assists, nine digs and an ace. Linkous recovered from a sluggish start with 13 kills, three aces, two digs and two blocks.
Sophomore Peyton Norville notched five digs, three kills and an ace, while Carnes totaled six digs, four aces and a kill. Senior Anna Hill scrambled for seven digs and Renfrow, the birthday girl, paced WCA with 14 digs.
“Losing three seniors that were leaders, I wasn’t sure how the season would go,” Vanderboegh said. “But the girls are starting to figure each other out; they’re talking and moving more. I’m happy with where we are.
“We are starting to gell as a team and that’s fun to watch.”
But Reece didn’t want her coach to watch a fourth set.
“It’s time for dinner,” she remarked with a grin.