APEX — It was another five-game test for Apex in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference, and the Cougars passed again, inching one step closer to a sixth straight conference volleyball title.
Two days after rallying from down two to defeat Middle Creek, Apex held off Fuquay-Varina 3-2 (25-12, 25-23, 21-25, 23-25, 15-9) Thursday night.
Apex coach Emily Regan joked that what she learned about her team after those two contests was: “We’re good at game five.”
What worked: Apex (11-1, 9-0) made it a point early to swing away from wherever Fuquay-Varina (10-4, 5-4) libero Abby Findley was. The Campbell recruit was usually to the left or right of the person who had to serve receive, and instead made the second hit.
“That’s the (trend) here lately,” Fuquay-Varina coach Jeff Pagel said. “They try to keep it away from Abby, and they try to hit it to my setter (Alex Barnett) to get her out of position.”
The Bengals inched their way back into it by slowing the tempo.
Needs improvement: Pagel and Regan both know their respective teams have struggled to maintain intensity.
Regan said her team has developed a tendency to ease off, while Pagel said his team’s recent slump – this was the third loss in four games – happened when underclassmen stopped matching the senior captain’s efforts.
However, “losing those first two games allowed us to regroup,” Pagel said. “Even though we lost, I’m excited for the rest of the season. This is the team that I was excited to coach back in August.”
Unsung hero: It would be a misnomer to call Bri Belicic a role player, because it insinuates the senior captain has a singular duty.
“I’ve never been the stats star,” Belicic said, “but I’m consistent.”
Against the Bengals, Belicic was both: she had 24 kills and 27 digs.
Putting up numbers: Abigail Veit wasn’t supposed to be a varsity player this year, but an injury put her in the lineup.
She’s earned her keep; the sophomore had 18 kills and four blocks Thursday.
“I gained a little more confidence as I started to earn my spot on the team,” Veit said. “It’s been a lot of fun. The girls are so nice and encouraging.”
Georgia Tech recruit Ally Beckman, a junior, had 12 kills, four blocks and 26 assists.
Chasey Gelston, a senior, had 28 assists. Junior Keely McMahon’s serve earned her four aces. Sophomore Jenna Dalbo had seven blocks.
For Fuquay, Maddie Sonnendecker had 12 kills while twin sister Morgan Sonnendecker had seven. Senior Saraya Klink had six kills and four blocks.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps