Kayla and Sydney Dowler are new Green Hope High students that have yet to attend their first day of school, but they’ve already made their mark on the Falcons’ volleyball team.
Kayla, a 5-foot-11 sophomore outside hitter, and Sydney, a 5-foot-10 freshman setter, led the unranked Falcons to a 3-1 victory over Sanderson, ranked No. 15 in the N&O, in a non-league match Thursday on the Spartans’ court. Green Hope won 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-20.
Wake County schools open Aug. 29, but the Dowler sisters have already helped Green Hope’s to a 2-0 start. Kayla finished with 23 kills and Sydney 24 assists.
They moved with their family over the summer to Cary from Sussex, Wis., where Kayla was the only freshman on the Hamilton High varsity last year. Kayla and Sydney are club volleyball veterans that had been long looking forward to playing together in high school.
They just didn’t know it would be in North Carolina.
“When we moved, we were afraid we wouldn’t be playing together on varsity,” Kayla said. “This has been awesome. We love this team.”
Sanderson (0-3) is off to a rugged start despite returning a veteran roster worthy of the No. 15 preseason ranking. But the Spartans drew a large and enthusiastic crowd for their third straight home match despite school more than a week from opening.
Sanderson won the first game 25-22 and jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the second. But Green Hope rallied from a timeout to turn the tables with its own 25-22 victory. The Falcons won the next two games 25-17 and 25-20.
THEY SAID IT
“This has been a rough opening week, but the support from fans has been great. Interest in volleyball is growing. We know we can play better. We have to get more aggressive.” – Sanderson coach Pam Tart.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Erin McIndoe, Green Hope: The sophomore libero and defensive specialist played a strong court game and served five aces. In Game 4, following a Green Hope point on a Sanderson return that was wide, she took over serving and delivered five straight points to turn a 19-17 deficit into a 23-19 lead.
Kara Adams, Green Hope: The 5-7 junior joined Kayla Dowler in double-figure kills with 11.
Sydney Koch, Sanderson: The junior middle blocker dominated play early when the Spartans won the first game.
DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN
The Falcons repeatedly scored when Kayla was on the left side and Sydney was able to set her with a running start to her leap for the spike.
“She’s always had that strength,” Sydney said. “She is so reliable. I love setting her and playing with her.”