Ayden-Grifton, Kinston volleyball players play last game before Florence

Ayden-Grifton, Kinston volleyball players play last game before Florence

Ayden-Grifton’s Emily Dykes serves during the Chargers’ win over Kinston Tuesday. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy / Neuse News

With games in the Eastern Carolina Conference put on hold for the remainder of the week — and possibly longer — Tuesday was the last volleyball match before Hurricane Florence.

Ayden-Grifton defeated Kinston 25-9, 25-7, 25-11, but the conversation was more about safety and staying prepared when the season does resume. Vikings coach Stephanie Ball said everything is contingent on the storm’s possible wrath.

“We’ll keep working on our games and practicing hard where we can, but don’t know what Florence has in store,” Ball said. “We all love the game and the girls have a passion for it, but our families come first and we remember the devastation of (Hurricane) Matthew.”

In 2016 when Hurricane Matthew hit, the volleyball season was put on hold for about three weeks, going straight to the postseason when play resumed.

Kinston’s Nikylah Williams said the team will be prepared when the season does get back on track.

“Our goal is to be more consistent and keep putting in work,” Williams said. “During games, we tend to get down on ourselves, so we have to work on our attitudes as well to get better.”

Ayden-Grifton coach Linda Bryant said she believes Hurricane Matthew did hinder the team’s momentum with the Chargers finishing second in the ECC behind South Lenoir by one game. Bryant said depending on how long play is suspended, it could be like starting from scratch.

“We’re going to have to come back even harder in practice and refocus toward our goals,” Bryant said. “We want to win conference and playoff games, and the main thing is trying to remember our mistakes from two years ago.”

The Chargers’ Jordan Cannon said a key for her team will be to keep its intensity level when play resumes.

“We just have a mindset of fighting through it all and making sure we’ll be ready to play when we can,” Cannon said.

Ayden-Grifton did pick up its 10th consecutive victory in this game, including its ninth by straight sets.

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