Middle Creek snapped a four-match losing streak and earned its first Southwest Wake Athletic Conference victory of the season by sweeping past Cary 25-8, 25-16, 25-12 at home on Tuesday night.
The Mustangs (3-5, 1-2 SWAC) were a state playoff team a year ago but are retooling after losing four key seniors. They looked sharp against the Imps, never trailing in any game and pounding 30 kills.
“We just need to build our confidence back up,” junior Emily Durham said. “This win tonight helped us with that after a bit of a losing streak.”
Cary (0-6, 0-3) continues to struggle fielding a competitive volleyball team, as changing demographics have limited the talent pool at the school. Imps coach Philip Goodloe doesn’t have an outside hitter taller than 5-foot-7.
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“If they’re tall and walking at our school, they play basketball or are distance swimmers,” Goodloe said. “The girls are great, and they try their best, but they’re not $7,000-a-year club players like you have on the outskirts of Cary now. Twelve years in this, I had nine years of dominant teams and then … the shift of power.”
Three who mattered
Emily Durham, Middle Creek: She had a terrific first game with three kills and four aces.
“Emily’s been in quite a transition for us,” Middle Creek coach Adrienne Core said. “She jumped in and played middle for us for a couple games and has been phenomenal there. She’s one of those versatile players where we can put her just about any position, and she’s going to deliver for us every time.”
Sam Smith, Middle Creek: The senior hitter had eight kills in eight attempts and added two aces.
Sydney Sozio, Middle Creek: In addition to her eight kills and two aces, the senior had three blocks, including two in a 9-0 run to close out the third game.
Struggling to compete might bring some players down, but not Cary junior Grayson Rice.
“If everybody had her energy and her positive attitude, it’d be a whole lot different story,” Goodloe said. “I’ve never seen her frown, never heard her say a bad thing about anybody. We could be down by 20, and she’s cheering non-stop.”
Out of bounds
While the Imps are looking for their first victory of the season, they haven’t lost their spirit. They sang happy birthday to Audrey Barton, who turned 16 Tuesday.
“We stay together as a team,” senior Kendall Daniels said. “We just come together in the middle any time we can, and we just fight for it. We’ve got to keep trying and pushing.”
After long rally where Smith made an incredible one-handed dig and C.C. Holliday had a dig, Durham put down a kill for a 20-12 lead in the second game.