With as balanced as the Greater Neuse River 4A seems to be in volleyball this season, momentum during a match seems to count for an awful lot. And a few points in the first two sets turned out to be decisive for East Wake at West Johnston on Thursday.
The Warriors scored the final four points to win the first set 25-23, then came from six points down to win the second 25-22 . They rolled the demoralized Wildcats 25-11 for the sweep.
East Wake improved to 2-3, 2-1 in conference play with the victory while West fell to 2-4 and 2-2.
“We’ve been going up-and-down, up-and-down,” first-year East Wake coach Keauna Vinson said. “I told them for that last game ‘Let’s go 25 straight. Let’s not play around. Let’s stay away from errors.’
“We had some younger players in there who hadn’t had much playing time, and I think they got over their nervousness.”
West Johnston had a two-match winning streak that included a win over longtime conference power Garner snapped.
“Losing those first two sets like that was demoralizing for the girls,” said Wildcats coach Susan Bryant, who returned to the helm this season after holding the job several seasons ago. “But they’re young and they’re trying to figure it out.
“We were coming off two big wins. We’ll get it. In the first two sets we made a lot of mistakes but we were competitive. We just let emotions take over today.”
The first set was close throughout, with nine lead changes and neither team ever leading by more than three points.
In the second, the Wildcats took the lead at 2-1 and stretched it to 21-15. But East went on a run of seven straight points – the last six with sophomore Lauren West serving – with junior Angel Rizor getting the kill for the final point.
“I think my serve is the strongest part of my game,” West said. “I was pretty nervous, but I got through with it.
“Right now we’re doing as good job of both hitting and passing. We’re happy with the way we’re playing right now.”
East Wake took a 3-0 lead in the third set and never looked back.
“The second set mattered a lot,” Rizor said. “I think it gave us a lot more confidence.
“We’re really a close team on and off the court. Most of us play basketball together, and we’re having a lot of fun.”
West Johnston junior libero Nicole Lonesky said her team was just unable to recover following the close losses in the first two sets.
“It’s always tough to come back after losing the first two,” Lonesky said. “It just wasn’t there. We could have played better, and we need to start doing that.”