South Lenoir prepared for league play after defeat of Swansboro

South Lenoir prepared for league play after defeat of Swansboro

DEEP RUN -- It wasn’t the ideal match for South Lenoir before conference play, but the Blue Devils got the job done.

South Lenoir will head into Eastern Carolina 2A play with a 4-3 record after defeating Swansboro 25-14, 25-19, 22-25, 25-21 Tuesday at home. The Blue Devils faced a tough nonconference slate, with the three losses — Croatan, East Duplin and West Carteret —  coming from teams with a combined record of 16-3 heading into Tuesday.

The Blue Devils will now focus on Kinston on the road Thursday, looking to continue an impressive showing in the ECC over the years. Since the conference came to fruition in 2013, the Blue Devils have dominated with a 45-3 record and four ECC crowns — three outright.

South Lenoir has never lost a home game in the ECC and hasn’t been defeated at Munn Gymnasium by a conference opponent since an Oct. 2, 2012 match with Topsail when the Blue Devils were still in the East Central Conference — a streak of 25 games.

Tuesday’s game didn’t show much dominance — save for the first set — and was played under unusual conditions. The contest was moved up to 4 p.m. — about two hours before an average start — due to numerous Blue Devils needing to attend a mandatory meeting at Lenoir Community College at 6 p.m.

Still, senior Mallory Dawson said the team couldn’t make excuses for numerous lapses in play.

“We need to work better, cheer on our teammates and not make as many mistakes,” Dawson said. “Basically, we need to get our crap together.”

Junior Alyssa Kopanski shared similar sentiments.

“We have to communicate more on the court, especially with a tough conference schedule coming up,” Kopanski said.

South Lenoir coach Lisa Smith said there were flashes, but there is still plenty to work out as ECC play draws closer.

“We started strong, but made some mistakes later,” Smith said. “Overall I’m proud of them with the circumstances, but the teamwork has to improve — they have to be able to do their jobs and pick each other up.”

South Lenoir will have a tough test in its home opener Sept. 4 against Ayden-Grifton. The teams split the season series the past two years and the Chargers were able to stop the Blue Devils’ ECC dominance, winning the conference in 2017.

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