The Sandhills Community College volleyball team rallied from a two-set deficit against Johnson and Wales only to fall 16-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-17 and 9-15 in Thursday's season opener at the Hangar.
The stretch of four matches in three days for the Lady Flyers continues with a 5 p.m. home date today with Guilford Tech providing the opposition. Coach Alicia Riggan's squad travels to Petersburg, VA on Saturday where it will meet
Montgomery CC (MD) at noon and host Richard Bland at 2 p.m.
The roster for the four-year college from Charlotte included two players that earned All-American honors on a team that won the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national title last year. The Wildcats won the first two sets convincingly against a Flyer squad that includes no returnees.
"During the break we talked about how these two are over and we've got three more to play," Riggan said afterward. "The girls were pumped up and ready to go and took care of business in the third and fourth sets by a pretty good margin at times."
Tied at 5-5 in the third, a win at the net by middle hitter Alexus McCrimmon and a service ace by Morrigan Denman, helped give the Flyers some momentum. Later, leading 14-13, an ace by Willow Williams, and a another kill by McCrimmon, helped rebuild their advantage.
The fourth set began with an explosion by middle hitter Carley Modlin who accounted for five of her team-high 12 kills on the way to a 10-4 lead. Khalie Jones was credited with kills on two of the last four points as the Flyers forced the 15-point tie-breaker.
All-American Toniya Scott asserted herself at the net to help the visitors jump out to a 9-2 lead. Two kills in a row by Modlin interrupted the surge, but the Flyers could do no better than trade points the rest of the way.
"Everything was clicking," Riggan said. "Johnson and Wales is a very strong program, but I felt we didn't really show up in the fifth set. A lot of good things came out of this, but I wish we had finished."
Modlin was also credited with three blocks. The other leaders in kills were Denman and McCrimmon with seven each. Williams with 17, and Christen Clontz with 16, were the leaders in digs. Setters Adison Campbell and Camryn Lowe finished with 26 and 10 assists respectively.
Photos by Donna Ford