Struggling mightily in the first set of Saturday's match against Patrick Henry CC, the Sandhills Community College volleyball team trailed 24-20 before running off six points in a row for the win.
The Lady Flyers (7-0 Region X, 16-10 overall) were never seriously challenged after that as they went on to sweep the host Patriots and later Southwest Virginia CC in Martinsville, VA to clinch the Region X regular season title.
Southwest Virginia (4-2, 5-11) defeated Patrick Henry (3-3, 5-11) in five sets in the final match of the day.
Following the title-clinching victory over Southwest Virginia, the 13 first-year Lady Flyers let out a loud cheer after Coach Alicia Riggan congratulated them for their accomplishment.
"We wanted to come in and win the two games in six sets and the girls took care of business," she said afterward. "This was one of the goals they set in the preseason so we checked that box.
"I couldn't be more pleased other than with the first set today. The rest of the day was the way we want to play Flyer volleyball. I thought our girls' composure was really good."
Coming into the tri-match, all three of the contenders had a mathematical chance to finish the day in first place. Off the mark on their return of serves and passes in the first set against Patrick Henry, the Flyers fell behind 9-3 and never caught up until mounting the dramatic rally.
A kill by middle hitter Carley Modlin following three points in a row by the Patriots made it 24-21. A service ace by Alexus McCrimmon drew the Flyers closer before she completed the comeback with a strong win at the net.
Modlin finished with 12 kills, and Morrigan Denman had nine to go with a team-high 11 digs in the 26-24, 25-8 and 25-14 sweep.
Setter Camryn Lowe, who was credited with 24 assists, thought the slow start was due to a combination of nerves and the long bus ride.
"Once we got into it and built up the energy, we pushed through," the North Moore High School grad said. "The chemistry we've had between us since our first day is amazing. We work hard in practice and it's really paying off."
Riggan was impressed with the play of the first-year Southwest Virginia squad that forced some long rallies, but was no match for the Flyers' size and hitting power up front.
Modlin and outside hitters Christen Clontz and Sarah Faulk did much of the damage as the Flyers jumped out to a 16-3 lead in the first set on the way to a 25-9, 25-15 and 25-18 victory over the Flying Eagles.
Modlin finished with 17 kills on 28 attacks. Clontz was credited with four kills, four service aces and a team-high 12 digs.
A solid day all-around for Faulk, a product of South Columbus High School, included seven kills on 15 attacks. She feels that sometimes she overthinks and worries about what she needs to do instead of playing her game.
"Today I just cleared my head and thought about putting the ball down," she said. "I have to thank my teammates for setting the balls up for us. We put in a bunch of work at practice and I feel its showing on the court."
The Lady Flyers wrap up the regular season with a tri-match on Sophomore Day at The Hangar on Saturday. They meet Southwest Virginia in their final conference match at 11 a.m. Southwest Virginia plays Division II USC Salkehatchie (11-9) at 1 p.m. followed by the Flyers against USC Salkehatchie at 3 p.m.
The Region X Tournament will be held at Rockingham CC on Saturday, October 26.