Middle blockers Tee'Ashia Lilly and Jordan Ward combined to win the battle up front as the Sandhills Community College volleyball team defeated visiting Wake Tech 25-17, 19-25, 26-24 and 25-15 on Wednesday.
The Lady Flyers take an overall record of 12-3, and a 3-0 mark in Region X, into Saturday's conference doubleheader at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. against Rockingham CC. It will also be Homecoming Day at the Hangar.
Lilly, who is 15th in the nation in hitting percentage, had 10 kills, and Ward added five to go with a pair of solo blocks. The Flyers needed five sets to defeat the Eagles in Raleigh last Thursday.
"For us to come out and beat them tonight after a very tough game against them last week was a really big deal," Ward, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, and a former teammate of Lilly at North Moore High School said.
There were other strong performances. Outside hitter Lilli Inman was credited with 12 kills and a season-high 18 digs. Setter Abby Wallace had 45 assists, also a season-best, to go along with a dozen digs. Libero Shaedyn Housh posted 26 digs.
On a day that members of the Aberdeen Parks and Recreation youth volleyball teams and their parents were guests of the Flyers, the home team jumped out to a 20-7 lead in a first set that included a pair of kills each by Ward and Lilly.
The Eagles responded by taking the next set and then led 22-20 in the third. Following one of the longest rallies of the match, the Flyers' Rachael Mashburn cleverly pushed a ball into space for the point that tied it at 22-22. It was even again at 24-24 before a kill by Inman, and service ace by Wallace, decided the pivotal set.
Lilly and Ward accounted for a combined seven points on kills and blocks as the Flyers efficiently converted 13 of 21 attacks in the fourth and final set.
"I thought Jordan came out more aggressive than the first time we played them," Flyers' coach Alicia Riggan said. "Tonight she really owned the net. She played really hard."
With the victory, the Flyers improved to 6-1 against Division II opponents.
"This is what the district and national tournaments are going to be like,"the coach said. "I wish we could have done it in three, but I'm happy to do it in four."
According to Kacey Blackmon, the Athletic Coordinator for Aberdeen Parks and Recreation, the youth volleyball program for 10-14 year olds is off to a great start in its first year with four teams and 40 participants.
"We absolutely enjoyed coming," she said.
Riggan sees the youth program as one that will help the high schools as well as Sandhills volleyball in the future.
"We put on a coaching clinic at Aberdeen Elementary in early September," she said. "We invited them to come to the game and it was cool to see them in their uniforms. I'm excited that we have a program like that in Moore County."
Also known as the Lady Eagles, Rockingham brings an overall record of 0-7, and an 0-4 mark in Region X, into Saturday's matches.