In the friendly confines of the Hangar, the Sandhills Community College volleyball team increased its winning streak to 12 in a row with a 3-1 victory over Pitt CC on Thursday and a 3-0 Sophomore Night sweep of Louisburg College on Friday.
The Lady Flyers take a 17-3 overall, and 6-0 record in Region X, into Tuesday's conference doubleheader at home against Vance-Granville CC (3-6, 2-1), that gets underway at 5 p.m. Two wins would break the program record of 13 wins in a row set by last year's squad.
According to Coach Alicia Riggan, Sophomore Night is one of her favorite times of the year, but even more so this year.
"Seven is the most sophomores we've ever had," she said. "It's a time we can focus on them and what they've contributed to the program. And I'm excited to get a win on Sophomore Night."
The Lady Flyers defeated a Division II Pitt CC squad that came in with a 10-3 record 25-23, 25-21, 14-25 and 26-24. Sophomore Kaitlyn Lisenby led the way with career-high 15 kills, 11 digs and six service aces. Freshman Lilli Inman added 13 kills.
"My father-in-law said that the Pitt game might have been the best one he ever saw us play." Riggan said. "I thought the girls just did a great job of seeing the court and supporting each other."
Following the Sophomore Night ceremony on Friday, the Lady Flyers picked up from where they left off against Pitt in the 25-21, 25-14 and 25-22 win over Louisburg.
Wallace had the assists for kills by sophomore middle blocker Tee'Ashia Lilly on the first three points of the match. Later a block by Lilly and a kill by Inman made it 6-0. Following the one-sided second set, a competitive third ended on a kill by Lisenby, her team-high 10th of the match.
Lisenby was wearing the same black head band she wore for the first time in her big game on Thursday.
"It's just something different," she said. "I thought I'll try it again and see if it really was the head band. I'm playing every game like it's my last – taking it all in."
Wallace contributed 38 assists and 14 digs. Housh again led the team in digs with 19. With the beginning of post-season play only about three weeks away, the decisive wins against higher division teams indicate the team is beginning to put things together at the right time.
"We've been working on the things we needed to improve upon the most," said Lilly who is 10th in NJCAA Division III with a hitting percentage of .380. "We're making progress."
Outside hitter Chelsea Green, right-side Rachael Mashburn, middle blocker Jordan Ward and defensive specialist Kiana Brown were the other sophomores honored. Freshman Ivy Futrell was idled by an injured ankle.
The balanced squad has four players with 100 or more kills, led by Inman, and five with 100 or more digs, led by Housh. One of the leaders in keeping the ball alive is Mashburn who had a total of 23 digs in the two matches.
"We're just determined," she said. "We set a goal from the get-go that we wanted to make it to nationals. I think we've been doing a pretty good job so far."
In her 10th season at Sandhills, Riggan thinks this is the most talented group of players overall that she has had.
"They've stepped up and they're excited about what they're doing," she said. "All 10 players contribute on a daily basis. It's kind of cool to see the sophomores step up and take care of business.
Looking on Friday were former players Chandler Adams, Paige Garner, Kaylee Lopez-Rosario and Leah Salzwedel.
"We had a great crowd," the coach said. "It was good to see some of our former players. We had some recruits here tonight and I thought the girls put on a good show. Hopefully they will want to come back and play in the Hangar."