Published 7:44 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2018


DURHAM — Washington made the trip to Durham on Tuesday to take on the North Carolina School of Science & Math in the first round of the 2A state playoffs and the Unicorns proved to be too much for the Pam Pack, eliminating Washington with a three-set victory, 25-7, 25-13, 25-14.

“In no way do I think that we beat ourselves. I think, yes, we probably could’ve played a little bit better, but I think Science & Math was truly the better team and they beat us,” Washington head coach Mallory Lee said. “I think we brought what we had for the most part.”

The Pam Pack actually started rather evenly with NCSSM, with Leah Spencer coming up with a block on the first play of the game. Washington went point for point with the Unicorns to begin the set, but NCSSM went on a serving run to pull away and win the opening set, 25-7.

“After set one we had a talk about, ‘Ok, we’ve seen everything that’s going to happen. You’ve just got to adjust to what they have,’ and they did a good job of that, I think,” Lee said.

The Pam Pack showed improvement in the second and third sets, scoring 13 and 14 points, respectively, but NCSSM showed why they’re the No. 6 seed, winning convincingly to end Washington’s season.

Lee said she thinks it was a good experience for her players that will return next season, seeing the all the equipment NCSSM had, the size of its coaching staff and the level of skill the Unicorns possess.

“It was a good experience for them to learn that volleyball does happen like this in North Carolina,” Lee said. “But then also, they saw their skill. They’re second-string girl was bigger than any girl that we’ve ever had.”

Washington’s season might’ve just ended, but that doesn’t mean Lee and her players are done working for the year. Lee said she plans to have her players play travel ball together like last year, which Lee feels made a “big difference going into this season.”

“If I can kind of get that same core group of varsity girls together again this winter, then we can really put the microscope on some specific things that are going to change our game, the speed and preciseness of some of our moves. I think that will make a really big difference because the majority of them are going to be staying together and going to be moving on next year,” Lee said. “I think we had a really good season and we ended on a strong note, but the thing that I’m most excited about is this winter and seeing what happens next fall, because I think it really will be another big step forward.”


WILLIAMSTON — Facing against a familiar foe in Riverside in the first round of the 1A state playoffs on Tuesday, Northside couldn’t book a ticket to the second round, losing to the Knights, 16-25, 20-25, 17-25, for the third time this season.

Fueled by the desire to defeat conference rival Riverside for the first time out of three attempts, Northside had the upper in hand at the beginning of each set. But not having more depth behind front row players Logan Jefferson and Katie Godley hurt the Panthers, as the Knights took advantage when Godley subbed out.

“Our rotation came and our first middle hitter, which is Katie Godley, when she rotated out, that’s when they were kind of able to hit and they got up on us and they did some tips on us. We weren’t able to get to the tips,” Northside head coach Michelle Leathers said. “We made a lot of mistakes too, a couple few times hitting the ball into the net, miscommunication on serves. But overall, I think we kept them on their toes a lot more than the last couple of times.”

Tuesday was the final Northside volleyball game for seniors like Jefferson, Jessica Foster, Amelia Woolard, Teagan Pilgreen and Mattie Respess, but Leathers said she expects Godley, Kathleen Slade and Rylie Norman, among others, to step up and take even larger roles on next year’s team.

Northside played in 2018 like Leathers has said she enjoys the sport being played, with hustle and determination that demonstrates the players’ love for the game.

“I think we did well,” Leathers said. “We just played hard and it was fun.”