APEX The Apex Friendship crowd cheered for the first point in its varsity volleyball history, but it wasn’t the loudest of the night. There are more points and more positive moments to be had for the Patriots this season.
Apex Friendship lost to Southwest Wake Athletic Conference foe Fuquay-Varina 3-0 in its inaugural match, 25-9, 25-11, 25-22. The third set, when the Patriots’ rally came up short, is when the Friendship crowd was at its peak.
“For them to come out and to take a junior-senior team to (25-22) in the third set, that shows promise to me,” said Friendship coach Stephanie Bennett, who is also finding promising things in the way her team practices.
“There’s never a time that I have to keep them on task. They’re in the gym 30 minutes early working on skills. Their dedication to the program already is phenomenal and you can tell that.”
There is no nonconference schedule for Friendship (0-1) this year. The Patriots’ first varsity season will come exclusively one of the state’s toughest leagues top-to-bottom.
“For this year it’s OK,” Bennett said. “This is a good pace for them.
“Our goal as a team is to be competitive and people will be shocked at how competitive we will be throughout this season.”
There are some perks of being a first-year school with only freshmen and sophomore.
“It’s really exciting because you get to set all the records,” freshman Logan Mignano said.
Mignano now holds the all-time Friendship record of career kills. She had eight.
“I think we bonded really well and played well as a team,” Mignano added. “There’s some stuff we can work on but over the season I think we can be really good.”
Fuquay (2-0) has a different start than what it’s used to. There are more unknowns entering this year than normal for Bengals coach Jeff Pagel, which means there’s a high ceiling.
“This will be our continual growth year,” Bengals coach Jeff Pagel said. “I feel like going into the past four seasons we already know what our chemistry is, what our lineup is and we just kind of live and die by it.”
The Bengals were led by the Sonnendecker twins. Morgan had 12 kills while Maddie had 11 to go with five aces.
“I can see this year that they confidence in themselves as hitters and as defenders,” Pagel said.
Aces were big for Fuquay. The Bengals had 16 total.