South Lenoir volleyball extends winning streak to seven games

South Lenoir volleyball extends winning streak to seven games

South Lenoir freshman Mary Grace Beyer tips the ball past Greene Central senior Madalyn Radford in the Blue Devils three-set win over the Rams on Thursday. Photo by Laieke Abebe / Neuse News

SNOW HILL — South Lenoir continued their strong start to the 2019 season on Thursday.

The Blue Devils went on the road and defeated Greene Central in straight sets (25-12, 25-13, 25-19). This capped off a 3-0 week for South Lenoir (8-1, 3-0 ECC), who defeated Kinston and Wallace-Rose Hill in the previous two days.

The Blue Devils are now on a seven-game winning steak and have only dropped two sets in that span.

“We work on our passing and communication everyday,” Blue Devils senior defensive specialist Michaela Elmore said. “Last year, we weren’t able to mesh together as a team, but this year we’ve gotten a lot better with that.”

Freshman middle hitter Mary Grace Beyer led the waves of South Lenoir offense throughout the game and made a lot of big plays at the net.

South Lenoir played excellent defense at the net and along their back line. The Rams fought hard with some really good defense, but the Blue Devils still built a double digit lead in each of the first two sets. The Blue Devils controlled the pace of the game, and that’s a point of emphasis for head coach Lisa Smith and her team this season.

“We want to get better everyday,” she said. “Our communication was really good and we passed the ball well. All I can ask for as a coach is that we do everything as a team and we’re starting to realize that. If we can keep that up, we’ll be able to play our game and continue to win.”

Senior outside hitter and setter Daly Keel picked up a couple of kills in the second set to keep the Rams' chances alive, but the Blue Devils were able to put it away with a 7-0 run. Sara Beth Stroud continued to keep serve all the way through to the final set.

The serving of Rams junior libero Meredith Warren-Lane kept Greene Central (4-5, 0-2) in the final set after trailing 13-3 to the Blue Devils. Greene Central got it back to 23-19 before South Lenoir scored the final two points to seal the victory.

Despite the loss, head coach Emily Nelson saw a lot of progress from her Rams squad.

“The competition is only going to get better,” she said. “This game was a litmus test to see how much progress we’ve made so far this season. I think we could’ve played a lot better and my team knows that they can compete with anyone. It’s still early in the season, but playing in this conference is going to help our team grow.”

Meanwhile, senior outside hitter Mallory Dawson and the Blue Devils have conference championship aspirations. The eight Blue Devil seniors have seen a lot of success and they hope they can end their careers atop the Eastern Carolina 2A conference.

“We really want to win it,” Dawson said. “I think we can go far in the state playoffs if we keep playing the right way. It would be great for us to end our senior year with a championship, but we really have to work for it.”

South Lenoir plays at home against Ayden-Grifton Tuesday in hopes of snapping the Chargers’ 19-game conference winning streak. Greene Central is also in action Tuesday when the Rams travel to face Kinston.

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