Southeast Raleigh had been waiting a long time for this volleyball win.
And when the Bulldogs finally got it, it certainly didn’t come easy.
Traditional Greater Neuse River 4A power Garner may have been struggling all season, but on Thursday Southeast had to fight to the end to claim a 25-23, 20-25, 21-25, 25-16, 15-13 victory.
It was the first win over the Trojans for any current Southeast player. The Bulldogs hadn’t won a set against Garner since 2010.
The result improved the Bulldogs to 5-5, 5-1 in GNRC play while the Trojans fell to 1-11 and 1-5.
“This win was phenomenal for us,” second-year Southeast coach Lisa Calero said. “We haven’t beaten them in years and it’s definitely a high for our players. I liked our attacks and our blocks.
“And the biggest thing was them talking and working together. The better we communicate, the better we play.”
“I’m very proud of my young ladies tonight,” said Garner coach Jason Boyette, whose team has lost six straight matches. “That’s the best we’ve played from top to bottom all season.
“Our passing was way better. And we got a lot of kills. We had been having more kills than errors. I just told them ‘great job.’ But we’re still young and had a few mental errors in a tight, close match.”
Southeast took an early lead in the first set before the Trojans tied it at 20-20. But the Bulldogs scored the next three points with Tyra Burt serving and closed out the win.
“I feel like we’re much better than last year,” Burt said. “If we keep working together as a team and practicing hard we can win the conference championship. We know Garner is always tough to beat, so this one feels really good.”
Garner came back to take the next two sets. Captain Stephanie Sierra came up big in that one, serving the first six points including three straight aces.
“I thought it was our best match,” Sierra said. “We tried our best to win. We’re getting better all the time.
“As time progresses I think we’re getting better and we can get to another level. You have to want to win, and we do. I’m really proud of our effort.”
Southeast dominated the fourth set, scoring the first two points with Burt on the serve with the Trojans never leading.
And the final set was a nail-biter, although the Bulldogs never trailed after three straight serves from Tiffany Dunham made it 4-2.
“It feels great,” Bulldog junior Kiara Marsh said. “We did a good job working together and playing as one. I was serving pretty well, but this match was pretty nerve-wracking. I’m just glad we came out on top.”