Pam Pack volleyball loses to conference rival after rallying from slow start

Published 8:27 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018


WASHINGTON — In a tense battle of conference foes fighting for a better place in the standings, the Washington volleyball team overcame a sluggish start, but eventually fell to South Lenoir on Wednesday in four sets, 24-26, 25-20, 22-25, 22-25.

Much of the opening set, and the rest of the match, was marred by double-hit violations by both teams. Washington (8-7, 2-4 2A Eastern Carolina Conference), in particular, was hurt by the strict officiating, allowing South Lenoir (6-5, 2-2 2A ECC) to build a 15-4 lead in the first set.

“I think it took them (the Pam Pack) a little bit to get into their rhythm, to get over the officiating. Not that the officiating was bad, it was just a lot more strict than what we’ve seen (so far this season),” Washington head coach Mallory Lee said. And we didn’t have time to clarify within the team and then adjust and clean it up. So, I think if we would’ve been more prepared for that, and have seen that the first half of the season, it wouldn’t have messed with us so much.”

But the Pam Pack rallied, tying the score at 20-20. Summer Campbell and Leah Spencer then combined to block a Blue Devil spike attempt, earning a point and giving Washington its first lead of the match, 21-20. The Pam Pack then looked set to take the opening set after retaking the lead at 24-23, but South Lenoir scored the next three points to win the set.

Continuing the momentum it built up in the second portion of the first set, Washington quickly built a 6-1 lead in the second. The play of Pam Pack players like Campbell, Kaylee Elks and Reagan Heath helped Washington maintain its lead throughout the second set, building a lead as large as eight points. The Blue Devils cut Washington’s lead to two, at 21-19, but consecutive points won by Leah Spencer and Emme Davis, respectively, gave the Pam Pack some breathing space, as it won the set, 25-20.

The third and fourth sets were both tightly contested battles, but South Lenoir emerged victorious in both to take the victory.

“I wish it wasn’t so tight in our conference because I think the girls went into this with a lot of pressure knowing that this is the team that we’re going to be neck and neck with,” Lee said. “But I think they played well and I’m really proud of them for continuing on because three weeks ago they would’ve given up and it never would’ve gone to four (sets).”

Lee was happy with how her team pushed on after a slow start, but she said she wants her team to be more aggressive at the net.

“I don’t like getting into tip situations with teams. We have the most hitting power of anyone we’ve met, so if we can just channel that and do that over and over, then we’re not going to be in a position that we have to dig ourselves out of,” Lee said. “If you hit it out or if you hit it in the net, continue to swing away. Because what happens is when they get blocks or when they hit it out, they want to play it safe. And we can’t play it safe because the way we score is when we attack. So, they’ve got to get out of that play-it-safe mentality.”