Every victory counts a lot in the tight race for state playoff spots out of the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference, and on Tuesday afternoon East Wake got an important one.
Angel Rizor and Kianna Wynn were dominant with blocks and kills at the net, leading the Warriors to a comfortable 25-19, 25-16, 25-15 win over West Johnston.
The result improved East Wake to 7-6, 7-4 in GNRC action, while West fell to 7-10 and 6-5. It was very similar to the first time they met this season, a 25-23, 25-22, 25-11 victory for the Warriors on Sept. 4 in Benson.
The day began with only three matches separating the top six teams and four playing dates remaining.
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“We’re improving a lot at the net,” East Wake coach Keauna Vinson said. “And we’re trying to score every time we get a free ball. We did a pretty good job of that today. We just have to stay consistent and keep winning.
“If we can win out, we’ll make the playoffs. We just have to make sure we don’t get complacent when we get ahead in a match, and we did a good job avoiding that today.”
It was the Warriors’ fourth straight victory while the Wildcats had a three-game winning streak snapped.
“We have played a lot of teams recently that aren’t as talented as East Wake,” West coach Susan Bryant said. “It’s hard to get back to that level.
“They do a great job of blocking, and we didn’t out set them well. We made a lot of middle passes right in front of the blocker. We were kind of off of our game. We’re just going to have to bring it and play at our pace in every match from now on.”
West scored the first five points of the match with sophomore Abby Barbour serving, but the Warriors took the lead for good at 13-12. Lauren West served the last three points including an ace.
“Our passing was good,” Barbour said. “But they were a lot better at blocking than they were the first time we played them.
“We’ve been trying new lineups, and tonight we went with a stronger lineup that should have been more consistent.”
In the second set, the Warriors were in control after Emily Gibson served for five straight points to stretch the lead to 8-1.
“We’ve worked a lot in practice on our blocks and our passes,” said Wynn, who has committed to play basketball for Queens University next season. “I think we’ll be good for the rest of the season.”
The third set was close until East Wake’s Haley Glover served for five straight points to make it 20-14.
“I think we’re improving,” the junior Rizor said. “Our passes are getting better to the open spots and we’re just getting better in our overall game.”