Chargers volleyball squad wins third straight match
Emily Dykes prepares to make a serve during the volleyball match against North Pitt. Photo by William 'Bud' Hardy / Neuse News
AYDEN -- The Ayden-Grifton volleyball team is on a roll. After dropping their season-opener, the Chargers won their third straight match with a 3-0 win at home against North Pitt on Tuesday.
Despite the victory, Chargers head coach was not impressed with the win.
“I told the girls when we started the season that when we are No. 1, the other teams are going to step up their game against us," A-G coach Linda Bryant said. "If we don’t take care of business and take care of the other team, we can be beaten. We won, but the girls came in with other things on their minds or something.
"We made a lot of simple, little mistakes that they should not be making at this point."
The Chargers (3-1) started strong in the first game, building a 12-6 lead. A potential early rally by the Panthers was squashed when Zion Hardy sent a spike screaming through the defenders' front line.
Ayden-Grifton then rolled as Hardy and Emily Dykes combined for spike after devastating spike to push them ahead. Senior Jordan Cannon secured the last three points as server and Dykes ended the first round with a spike down the middle as the Lady Chargers won the first game, 25-11.
“We could have been better," Hardy said. "We still won, but we had an off night. There is the potential for us to be really good. We should win conference and go deep in the state playoffs, but we have to play better than this."
North Pitt captured the first point of the second match, but the Chargers tied it up. The game was close, with the Panthers taking an 8-7 lead at one point until Dykes tied the game at 9-9 on a monster spike into the heart of the North Pitt team.
On the Chargers' next possession, Hardy rattled off four points as server. However, the Panthers roared back, tying the game up at 17-17. North Pitt took a 20-19 lead until Ayden-Grifton got the ball back when Dykes successfully blocked a spike. With Cannon serving, the Chargers were able to rack up five straight points to win the match.
“We have a lot of young players," Panthers coach Lucinda McMillan said. "We only have one senior. We played a tough team and we always try to play them before we go into conference play as we feel that it helps us out.”
The Chargers, up two games to none, started the third game on fire as they built a 5-1 lead to begin the match. North Pitt did not roll over, though. The Panthers scored three points before Lexi Bryant fired off a monster spike to end the rally.
Another potential rally was spoiled when Aaleyah Garris blocked a spike by the Panthers. A-G charged forward to build a 16-7 lead. The victory was capped off when a North Pitt server hit the ball out and the Chargers won the last match, 25-15.
The top servers in the game for the Chargers were Cannon with 19 points and Garris with 15.
“There are some things that we need to work on. We need to play our game and be focused. When we do that, we can play strong,” Garris said.
Dykes led the Chargers with 28 kills but, like her coach and teammates, wasn't pleased with just getting the victory.
“We didn’t win like we are supposed to," Dykes said. "We can’t play down to our competition and let them come back like we let them do. We need to play to our full potential every time."