East Wake Academy hoped to make things a bit more interesting at the top of the North Central Athletic Conference volleyball standings on Tuesday, but instead it was business as usual for the Roxboro Community School team.
The Bulldogs remained unbeaten in league play with a 3-0 victory, 25-18, 25-9, 25-10, over the host Eagles.
Garrison Bowes had 12 kills and four aces, and Mackenzi Thornburg added four kills, 12 assists and three aces for Roxboro (10-1, 6-0 NCAC), seeking a second straight unbeaten season in the conference after doing so last year en route to reaching the third round of the 1A state playoffs.
“Every team we play, no matter conference or nonconference, we need to challenge ourselves,” said Roxboro coach Meagan Kimbrough. “I tell the girls, no matter what color the jerseys, or who is over there, we have to play our side. Nothing else should matter if we are doing our jobs the right way.”
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East Wake Academy (6-3, 4-3 NCAC) started off reasonably well, knotting the score 6-all after trailing 3-0 to open the match. Roxboro responded with six straight points – Bowes producing a pair of kills during the surge – to take a 12-6 lead and the Eagles would draw no closer than four points the remainder of the opening game.
“It’s a motivation to keep winning, to not let anyone get in our way,” Bowes said. “I feel like if I’m not doing my part, then it lets my team down a little bit.”
After a fairly competitive opening game, Roxboro stepped up its sharpness levels. The Bulldogs were bolstered by fast starts in both of the final two games – an 8-1 run to open the second game and a 9-point run to take a 15-3 lead in the third game.
“I like that we took what we had and reassessed after that first game,” Kimbrough said. “We got a little bit sloppy and had a few hitting errors in that first game, but I like how our passing stayed consistent no matter what was going on, and that’s key to our success these last few years.”
They said it
“Instead of our errors decreasing those last two games, they increased,” said EWA coach Kenly Simmons said. “But we have a very young team, only one senior, and we have come very far from last year and even two years ago.
“We’re in a strong conference, found that out quick last year. But we’re a hungry team, and we feel like we’re closing that gap.”
Three who mattered
Garrison Bowes, Roxboro: EWA had no answer for her defensively, Bowes tallying a match-high 12 kills.
Mackenzi Thornburg, Roxboro: She had seven straight service points early in the second game to help set the Bulldogs on their way to the decisive victory.
McKenzie Alford, EWA: Had five kills and two blocks, performing well up front in defeat.