Sanaa Lanier may be only a freshman, but she has been a leader for Garner volleyball all season long.
And in Thursday’s contest at Southeast Raleigh, it was her serve that made the difference.
The versatile ninth-grader — who is listed at three different positions — served for 12 straight points in the all-important second set as the Trojan won 25-23, 25-13 and 25-22 to sweep the season series.
The result lifted Garner to 6-10, 4-4 in Greater Neuse River 4A play, while Southeast fell to 2-10 and 2-5.
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Garner had also won the earlier meeting on its home court in four sets on Sept. 1.
“We were better today,” said Garner coach Jason Boyette, whose team had lost three straight matches coming in. “I told them to just have fun, and the smiles were back on their faces today. Southeast keeps improving and we’re pretty evenly matched. We hadn’t had a run like (Lanier’s serving) all year, and that gave us a huge boost.”
Southeast has lost two straight matches.
“I liked the way we worked together,” said Southeast’s first-year coach Tammy Lackey, who coached Lanier at North Garner Middle last season. “They were trusting their teammates, and that made a lot of difference. We just didn’t do a great job of finishing. But we’re still pushing and not giving up.”
With Garner trailing 11-10 in the second set, Lanier served for 12 straight points to enable the Trojans to win the set easily.
They Said It
“It made a lot of difference that we got all those points while I was serving,” said Lanier, who finished with seven aces and five kills. “We got a lot of momentum from that, and we needed it because Southeast is improved from the first time we saw them.”
Three Who Mattered
Sanaa Lanier, Garner: The freshman finished with seven aces and five kills.
Shaylynn Hall, Garner: The sophomore middle hitter had 11 kills and two blocks.
Tyra Burt, Southeast: The senior outside hitter had eight kills.
“We played really well, but didn’t execute well in some spots,” Burt said. “We’ve been working hard on defense and that’s making us better. We just need to do a better job of knowing where we need to be on the court.”
By The Numbers
2: Blocks by Garner’s Shaylynn Hall and the Bulldogs’ Maya Johnson.
5: Kills by Lanier.
7: Aces by Lanier.
8: Kills by Southeast’s Tyra Burt.
11: Kills by Hall.
“We decided we were just going to have fun,” Garner junior Kacie Meekhof said. “When we relax and play our game we can be great. I think we’re improving in all areas, and when we work as a team we can beat anybody.”