Chargers volleyball team sweep Rams to clinch conference title
The Ayden-Grifton Chargers’ volleyball team has been dominant this season.
After their Tuesday evening win over Eastern Carolina 2A Conference rival Greene Central Rams, the Chargers have won 18 straight contests. The straight-sets victory over the Rams also gives the Chargers, coupled with a loss by West Craven to Washington, their second ECC title in a row.
Over the last two seasons, Ayden-Grifton has gone 21-1 against conference opponents.
“As a senior, this has been very exciting. I can’t put it into words,” Zion Hardy said. Hardy would have seven kills and five aces in the game. “ It’s really exciting to be able to leave a mark like this at our school and see the foundation that we are building for the future here”.
“This win feels good, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Chargers coach Linda Bryant said. “When you have a team on board with your program, when you have skills players, when you have great chemistry, and when you when everyone has the same goal, you can play as well as we have been playing this season. These girls have been on a winning program bad want to keep it going.”
After getting the opening jitters out of the way, trailing 4-2 in the first set, Ayden-Grifton charged forward and took command of the match. Aaleyah Garris had five straight points to end the first set 25-9, and Hardy punctuated it with a hard spike down the line. Garris would lead the team with nine digs.
“We communicated well and hustled,” Hardy said. “We worked together to achieve our goals of doing our best.”
After Jordan Cannon got the Chargers off to a 2-1 start, Hardy would rip five straight points as server over the Rams. Greene would battle back to 8-5 with some great diving digs by Abby Vendemia. However, the Chargers would keep the pressure on. Garris, as server, would put Ayden-Grifton on a seven point run to help put difference between the two teams. Cannon would rack up the last four points as the Chargers took the second set 25-9.
“We did a good job communicating and coming together,” Cannon said. “We played our game, didn’t fool around and make mistakes, and we played our best tonight.”
Cannon started off the third set and started Ayden-Grifton on a 5-0 run. This was quickly followed by another 14-0 run with Hardy serving, punctuated with three crushing spikes by Emily Dykes and two jumping blocks by Lexi Bryant. The Chargers took the final set, 25-4.
“My seniors have been carrying this team as of late,” Coach Bryant said. “Zion has been a great leader. Aaleyah has been working really hard on and off the court. Lexi is a quiet team leader who has been playing and studying this game longer than the other girls. They are all coming together at the right time and playing well.”
Bryant and Dykes would share the team lead with eight kills. Bryant would also have three aces as server.
“We’ve been talking a lot in practice lately about not getting too lax,” Coach Bryant said. “A team that finishes well in conference will carry that over into playoff time where you will face tougher competition. We can’t goof around and make mistakes and then play a tough team that will not let us get away with it. That’s when we would face adversity. Instead, we have to play with intensity every time no matter how we are playing. That’s how we have helped to win all of these games 3-0.”
With the loss, the Rams fell to 2-9 in conference play and 4-14 overall.