Home Local Sports Ellerbe, Hamlet volleyball teams improve to 2-0

Ellerbe, Hamlet volleyball teams improve to 2-0

Left to right: Kenley Smith, Aimee Lynn Dobson and Lizzie Lunceford. (Deon Cranford)

The excitement from the season opener of middle school volleyball on Monday carried over into Thursday as another five-set match occurred between in-county schools. 

With Rockingham taking the day off, Ellerbe, Cordova and Hamlet had no trouble entertaining spectators across the county.

Ellerbe 3, Cordova 2

For the second time in four days, the Ellerbe Lady Wildcats found themselves trailing in a series against an in-county opponent only to win late and steal the match. 

On Monday, Ellerbe found itself in a 0-2 hole after the first two sets, but won three straight to defeat an always tough Rockingham team.  On Thursday, the Lady Wildcats fell behind 1-2 to Cordova after three sets, but finished strong once again to move to 2-0 in conference play.

Cordova, which was coming off an impressive opening day victory over Anson Orange on Monday, won an intense, close opening set 25-20.  Ellerbe answered big with a 10-point set victory in the second (25-15), but the scrappy Lady Cavaliers responded with a 25-19 victory in the third to move ahead in the series 2-1.

Much like its match with Rockingham, Ellerbe’s serving was the difference maker down the stretch.  “Every set was competitive,” shared Ellerbe Middle coach Jonathan Chavez.  “Lillian Hill and Allison Gonzalez Santiago had phenomenal serves in the fourth and fifth sets with each getting six points off the serve.”

Along with quality serving, Chavez also lauded his team’s captain for being an effective leader throughout the match.  “Kenley Smith kept motivating the team,” Chavez continued.  “During every timeout she gave (her teammates) guidance on having more communication on the floor and having a high intensity at all times.”

Ellerbe forced a playoff set with a 25-19 victory in set four and took the match with a 15-12 set five victory.

The Lady Wildcats, who did not win a single match last season, are now 2-0.  Ellerbe and Cordova (1-1), have both struggled to make noise the last few years, now have everyone’s attention.

“It was a hard-fought match,” shared Cordova coach April Stewart.  “Ellerbe’s girls played a great game and we just had a few mistakes that led to our defeat.  Our girls played hard, but just couldn’t hold them off.”

Ellerbe (2-0) will complete its cycle against in-county opponents when they travel to Hamlet (2-0) on Monday.  Cordova has an open date on Monday.

Hamlet 3, Anson Orange 1

Hamlet completed its sweep of the Anson County middle school teams with a 3-1 win over Anson Orange in its home opener on Thursday.

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After an intense five-set win over Anson Blue on Monday, the Lady Red Rams appeared to have another fight on their hand in the early moments against Anson’s Orange team Thursday afternoon.  The Lady Red Rams scored the opening three points, but a quick 7-1 run by Anson forced Hamlet into an early timeout.

A motivational discussion from Hamlet co-coach Melissa Briggs seemed to do the trick.  Hamlet chipped away at the deficit and after taking its first lead of the set at 17-16 it was Anson’s turn to huddle, but Hamlet’s Aimee Lynn Dobson refused to relinquish the momentum.

With Dobson serving, the Lady Red Rams scored the next six points after the timeout, three of which were aces.  From there, they went on to win the opening set 25-19.

Mackenzie Quick got things started for the Lady Red Rams in the second set with four service points (3 aces) to give Hamlet an early 5-1 lead.  Anson cut the lead to 3-6, but Hamlet followed with an 8-2 run that included five straight points (2 aces) with Lexi Smith serving and Riley McDonald contributing an ace and an impressive pair of kills. 

Anson fought back, but Hamlet’s 9-point lead was too much to overcome, and the Red Rams moved ahead to 2-0 in the match with another 25-19 set victory.

An error-plagued third set saw Hamlet lose a 25-15 decision, but the Lady Red Rams reversed that score in set four earning a 25-15 set win of their own and a 3-1 match victory.

Notable stats from the match: Quick (2 kills, 4 aces, 5 digs), Dobson (4 kills, 7 aces, 2 digs), Smith (5 aces, 1 dig), McDonald (8 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs), Kalynn McCormick (3 kills, 3 aces, 7 digs), and Kaylee Dunn (2 kills, 1 dig).

On Monday, the Lady Red Rams (2-0) will play host to Ellerbe (2-0) in a battle between the county’s only two remaining undefeated teams.

Note: Lauren Brewer, Mary Catherine Moree, Jonathan Chavez and April Stewart contributed to this article.

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