Volleyball Makes School History

2019 Varsity Volleyball Team

As their season has come to a close, The Lady Eagles Volleyball Team is going out with a bang. The team has made history these past two weeks, from becoming Conference Champions to making it past the first round of States for the first time in the program’s history. 

The Conference Tournament began on Monday, October 21 at the Nest. The Lady Eagles took their first win over North Rowan in three short sets, with the ending scores being 25-5, 25- 10, and 25-9. Gabi Greene led the team with 12 kills and 4 digs, Carter Duggins with 8 kills and 3 digs, Maddie Mabe with 39 assists and 4 digs and Paige Ingram with 10 digs.
Tuesday, October 22 the Lady Eagles traveled to North Stanly for the Conference Tournament semi-final and fell short, losing in three sets. Maelee Hall commented on her thoughts about the game, saying it was all a mind game for their team, and that they beat themselves more than North Stanly did. “I think we were just nervous, we weren’t communicating like we should’ve been, we weren’t acting like teammates and we got inside our own heads” 

   Coming off of a tough loss like this wasn’t easy, but the team knew that this was not the end. Getting back in the “ready to play” state of mind as they were heading into the first round of State Playoffs that Saturday was their number one priority. Fortunately for them, because they were a higher seed, the ladies were able to host the first round. On Saturday, October 26, the girls played River Mill Academy, claiming their first-ever State Playoff win, a huge accomplishment for the volleyball program. Gabi Greene had 18 kills, Carter Duggins had 11 kills, and Maddie Mabe had 41 assists. 

The second round of States took place on Tuesday, October 29. The Lady Eagles gained another win under their belt in a hard-fought, five-set match against the Lakewood Leopards. Unlike other games this season, there were fewer in the crowd, but the energy of those who attended matched the heart and determination of the team. Sophomore, Carter Duggins, talked about how she felt when their team was down 0-2 sets. “After we lost those first two sets, our whole season flashed before my eyes, and I don’t think I was the only one who thought about this. I think we all decided that this would not be our last game and this definitely would not be our last time playing with Hayven, so we flipped the switch and took care of business.“ Gabi Greene pulled through with 24 kills and 20 digs, Dacia Lowery with 11 kills and 9 blocks, Hayven Clemons with 29 digs and Maddie Mabe with 44 assists and 14 digs. 

After a day in between to get some more touches in at practice, the Eagles took the road and headed to Pamlico County to take on the Hurricanes in the third round of playoffs. Since the ride to Pamlico was around 4 hours long, the coaches decided to make this into a team bonding day trip. A holiday tour bus was rented, and the girls left early Thursday morning, after a light practice. Two stops were made, the first to stretch and walk around and the second for a team meal in New Bern. Then it was time to get in-game mode and prepare for what they were about to face. Coming in as the younger team against a team of almost all upperclassmen was going to be a challenge. The Lady Eagles season came to an end after a tough three-set loss to the Hurricanes. Following the game, many tears were shed and group hugs were given, as the girls took in the fact that their time together was over. In their final team huddle, Coach Kennell told the girls “I don’t want y’all to walk out of here with your heads down because we made history, and we are just going to continue building off of that. You girls right here are my family and I couldn’t ask for a better one.” 

The Lady Eagles will be returning almost the entire team, except for their only senior and libero, Hayven Clemons. “We never gave up on each other. We had a lot of determination and fight in us and it showed. We would bounce back from losses and reset our minds for the next game. We worked hard in practices and focused on what we wanted to accomplish,” Hayven said, thinking back on her final season. 

“This team put a ton of work in the offseason and so the girls have been together since the beginning of the season. That ultimately developed a chemistry and family bond that was instrumental in our success this year. Everyone believed in each other and held the rope.”