North Raleigh Christian Academy’s volleyball team opened up its Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference play with a dominating sweep over St. Mary’s on Tuesday night.
The Knights (16-1, 1-0 TISAC) displayed their strengths in all facets. Junior Amaya Williams had a night filled with well-placed sets and occasional kills. Sophomore Casey Justus used her height to disrupt the Saints (2-8, 0-1) on defense and a strong arm on offense. Senior Christa Wilson contributed multiple kills, including a cross-court shot to end the first set.
St. Mary’s fell behind at the beginning of each set and couldn’t overcome the quick deficits.
After the two squads traded the first eight points of the match, NRCA broke off an 8-1 run to cause a timeout for St. Mary’s. The Knights wouldn’t look back and quickly won the three sets in succession.
They said it
“Today we were just trying to work each point, playing the best we could for each point,” said NRCA coach Chris Murray. “If you’re serving, best serve that you can give, best pass, best set, best hit. For them to personally be the best that they can be and to will their teammates that are next to them to play the best that they can play.”
St. Mary’s coach Tonya Holmes wanted to see more movement from her Saints.
“I’d like to see my team be a little more aggressive on defense, making sure we’re moving to the ball,” Holmes said. “Not expecting everything to be a hard swing but just a little more effort with where we need to be. “
The serves from NRCA’s Faith Murray and Skylar Buckley were fantastic throughout the match. Murray hit with a lot of pace and combined that with low-arcing shots to frustrate her opponents.
Buckley, who’s just an eighth-grader, hit with the topspin of a longtime volleyball veteran. At one point in the second set, Buckley rattled off back-to-back aces.
The play of the night came from Williams in the first set. After saving a ball nearly 10 feet out of bounds, Williams raced back to the net. There, a beautiful, back-arching ball by Williams set up a kill. Fans thunderously applauded Williams’ hustle and composure.
Both teams get into the heart of TISAC play with NRCA traveling to Cary Academy next. St. Mary’s also will hit the road for its next game at Ravenscroft.