The halfway point of the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference’s volleyball season provides teams a chance to reflect what’s happened thus far.
For Green Hope, a five-game win streak after defeating Athens Drive on the road 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-19) just shows how much better the Falcons (9-4, 6-2) have gotten.
Part of that has to do with the schedule, but only part of it. Green Hope lost four of five matches, all to some of the best teams in the Triangle – Sanderson, Fuquay-Varina, Leesville Road and Panther Creek – but turned a corner after a 3-0 win against rival Apex.
“We kind of had a mindset that because we were SWAC champs last year we could sweep through the conference this year. then we lost those few and our mindset changed,” senior Abby Kott said. “We realized we had to work harder and step up to go further.”
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They said it
Athens Drive (5-5, 3-4) didn’t have it much easier to start the year: Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Broughton and Panther Creek were among the first six matches.
But the Jaguars are hoping to take things one match at a time.
“This conference is so up-and-down. You want to practice and you want to make a game plan, and you think you’ve got it, and then you see a totally different thing,” Athens Drive coach Emily Smith said. “We can’t look at the first games and know what to expect because this conference truly is a day-by-day thing. It’s like climbing a ladder that’s building as you go up.”
3 who mattered
Abby Kott, Green Hope: The senior had nine kills and was unstoppable in game two, with five kills and two blocks to help the Falcons go on a 11-1 run to take a 17-9 lead.
Allison O’Connor, Green Hope: Nine kills on just 14 attacks. The Jaguars hit around her block, but she put the point away on almost every swing. She also added four aces, a high number for a middle blocker.
“She’s stepping up in big ways this year,” Redelfs said.
Claire Campbell, Athens Drive: Had five kills (two three blocks), behind only Raquel Rooney’s six among Jags. Fellow middle blocker Allison Lake added four kills and three blocks.
Out of bounds
Freshman Parker Pope isn’t the tallest player for Athens Drive, so when she got a block in game one, her teammates went wild. Many thought maybe it was a half-block, where the ball hits two players and each gets a block on their stat line.
But Campbell came to Pope’s defense.
“I didn’t touch it at all!” she said.