South Lenoir seeks to retake the ECC in volleyball

South Lenoir seeks to retake the ECC in volleyball

South Lenoir players go through drills during a practice this week. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News

DEEP RUN -- South Lenoir is looking to get back to the top of the Eastern Carolina Conference volleyball race.

Since the ECC’s inception in 2013, the Blue Devils have dominated with a 45-4 record in conference, including an undefeated mark at home. South Lenoir also won four straight conference titles before finishing second to Ayden-Grifton last season.

Longtime South Lenoir coach Lisa Smith said expectations will remain high and the team has been working throughout the summer to try getting back on its standard perch at the top of a tough ECC.

“I expect them to go out and learn, push for every game and try to win every single game,” Smith said. “It’s going to be tough (in the conference) but you’ve got to go out and try.”

Throughout the first week of official practices, the Blue Devils went through intense practices at the school to prepare. Senior Toni Foster said it will pay off as the focus shifts toward making an impact throughout the year.

“The practices will help us get prepared for the season,” Foster said. “We know other teams are going to challenge us and we’ve got to be ready.”

Smith said the players take the initiative to give their all in practice and prepare for game situations.

“They push each other and want to make sure whatever they need to do (we can),” Smith said. “If we have to play five games in a match, we’ll play five games full out.”

Kenly Hardison, one of eight seniors on this year's team, said the Devils won’t play down to the opposition in any capacity.

“We can’t take anyone for granted,” Hardison said. “Nothing is going to be given, it’s got to be earned.”

Senior Candace Pierce said team chemistry and work ethic has been great all summer and will continue when the regular season starts.

“We’re going to work hard and play as a team all year,” Pierce said.

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