The Knightdale volleyball team gained a measure of revenge Thursday, and in the process strengthened its footing atop the Greater Neuse River Conference standings.
Nia Singletary had 19 kills, including one late to highlight a match-ending 7-1 run, to help lead the host Knights to a 3-1 victory (25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20) over rival East Wake.
Heaven Jarrell added 11 kills and two aces for Knightdale (8-5, 6-0 GNRC), which had its season end last year at the hands of the Warriors with a 25-14, 25-17, 25-21 loss in the first round of the state 4A playoffs.
“Coming into this match, we had all the confidence,” Singletary said. “We were trying to beat them the best we could. We didn’t expect it to go to four games, but we came back in the fourth game strong.
“It’s very gratifying to stay on top of the conference and beat our rival.”
East Wake (6-5, 4-3) had its winning streak snapped at four. The Warriors won nine of the last 12 points to win the third game and appeared poised to perhaps force a fifth game when they took a 19-18 lead in the fourth game, only to have Knightdale close it out with its late surge.
East Wake performed admirably in trying dig its way out of a big hole, but the tone for the match was set over the first two games, in which the Warriors held slight leads at the midway points only to see them slip away. In the first game, Knightdale wiped out a 13-11 deficit with a 10-2 run, and in the second game the Knights overcame another 13-11 situation with a 7-1 run.
“We have to get in a rhythm earlier (in the match). I think if we had gotten in a rhythm early it would have been a good battle,” said East Wake assistant coach Ashley Harris, filling in for coach Keauna Vinson who was away on a post-graduate assignment. “A lot of it was mental mistakes. When we’re hitting, we’re a good team, I think we have the best hitters in the conference. Knightdale and us, it’s always a good match, but we have to be more consistent.”
They said it
“They had circled this game on the calender back when I showed them the calender in July,” said first-year Knightdale coach Ross Fields. “They said that’s the game. On Oct. 13 we go to (East Wake), it’s our second-to-last game, and they have that one marked, too.
“They are taking care of business, the girls are very strong. As long as we control what we can control, then we’ll be good.”
Three who mattered
Nia Singletary, Knightdale: The senior was unstoppable offensively over the first two games, then loomed large in the late surge that enabled the Knights to close out the victory. In addition to her 19 kills, Singletary added 12 digs and two blocks.
Deiara Frye, Knightdale: Had 10 kills and was also a significant presence defensively with two blocks.
Angel Rizor, East Wake: Played well throughout, particularly over the final two games. She tallied 10 kills, five blocks and two digs.
By the numbers
3: Aces by East Wake’s Breanna Boggs and Knightdale’s Liz Goodheart, tied for most in the match.
28: Digs by Knightdale’s Jena Massing. Knightdale had 74 digs as a team.