Abby Barbour dominated with 25 kills on Tuesday, giving new West Johnston coach Meredith Blake the biggest win of her short career.
The Wildcats dominated early before stumbling in the third set, but rolled to a 25-14, 25-14, 20-25, 25-14 win over visiting archrival Clayton in Greater Neuse River 4A action.
The result, which was West’s first home conference win of the season, improved the Wildcats to 5-5 overall and 3-2 in GNRC play. Clayton fell to 2-7 and 1-4.
“Going into this match we knew we needed this win,” Blake said. “Clayton has a strong team. We worked all week on aggression at the net and being consistent. We utilized our hitters at the net really well.”
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Clayton has lost four straight conference matches.
“We went to a little different lineup in the third set,” veteran Comet coach Marlon Lee said. “We continue to play hard, but we’ve just got to play smart. West is a good team, but we’ve got to put together some good matches.”
After Clayton had bounced back to win the third set after leading most of the way, West junior Kelsey Ellis served the first seven points of the fourth set to spark the Wildcats to a comfortable win.
They said it
“We had great passes which led to good sets,” West’s junior middle hitter Abby Barbour said. “We really wanted to win this one. Beating Clayton was one of our main goals.”
Three who mattered
Abby Barbour, West Johnston: The senior middle hitter had the 25 kills and also served a run of nine straight points late in the final set.
Brooke Applequist, West Johnston: The senior center had a 90 percent serve-receive number.
Kelsey Ellis, West Johnston: The senior hitter had 11 kills to go with the service run to start the final set.
“When we get serving runs we get a lot of momentum,” Ellis said. “Coach really pushes us and wants us to win. We kind of feed off her energy.”
By the numbers
1: West’s biggest deficit, on one occasion, in any of the sets it won.
5: Straight points served by Clayton’s Bailey Perdue in the final set.
7: Straight points served by Ellis in the final set, and Clayton’s biggest lead (20-13) in the third set.
9: Straight points served by Barbour in the final set.
11: Kills by West’s Ellis.
25: Kills by West’s Barbour.
90: The serve-receive percentage from West’s Brooke Applequist.
The rematch is on Oct. 8 in Clayton.
The Wildcats host Knightdale on Tuesday.
Clayton starts a string of three on the road Tuesday.
“We’ve just got to keep fighting,” Clayton’s junior middle hitter Kayla Lewis said. “We’re not going to give up. We can do better.