Pioneers sweep South Caldwell 3-0
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga kept its Northwestern Conference perfect record intact with a 3-0 victory over South Caldwell at Lentz-Eggers Gym Tuesday night.
The Pioneers (10-5, 5-0 NWC) never truly dominated South Caldwell, but had enough to take a 25-18, 25-19, 25-18 victory. The Spartans did not allow Watauga to run away with the victory, but could not hold a lead long enough to put any concern in the Pioneers toward the end of any of the sets.
“They’ve improved tremendously,” Watauga coach Kris Hagaman said of South Caldwell. “They played very competitively and they served really competitively. That really helped them.”
Watauga built a big lead in the first set, 20-12, to pull away for the win, but South Caldwell did not stop scrapping in the final two sets. The Spartans took a 12-9 lead in the second set, but a 8-1 Watauga run put the Pioneers in front 17-13.
South Caldwell rallied and pulled to 19-18, but Watauga scored six of the final seven points to close out the set. Kristen Carter’s serving ace on the final point secured the victory.
“They’re a lot more scrappy that they have been,” Watauga libero Ashlyn Van Dyke said of South. “They were playing really smart and they were placing the ball well.”
Carter finished with 34 assists and nine digs. Many of her assists went to the Pioneers’ front-line duo of outside hitter Channing Hagaman and middle blocker Rebecca Hayes.
Hagaman, who was particularly effective in the third set, finished the match with 15 kills. Hayes, who often moved outside, added nine kills. She also blocked four South Caldwell kill attempts.
“Channing was killing it,” Carter said. “She was hitting that line and it was wide open all day.”
Watauga took a 10-6 lead in the third set, but with help from two aces from South Caldwell’s libero Rebecca Kale, tied the game 10-10. Watauga scored the next four points, which included a serving ace from Van Dyke, and led 14-10.
South Caldwell never got closer.
“We did a good job of adjusting to their serves and their hits that they were giving us, so we were able to make some plays off of them,” Van Dyke said.
Watauga plays at Hibriten on Thursday, but returns for a trimatch Saturday against Southern Alamance and Reagan. The trimatch is the first of four straight home dates for the Pioneers, who also host NWC rival St. Stephens on Sept. 25, West Iredell the next day and Fred T. Foard on Sept. 27.
WHS JVs d. South Caldwell 2-0
Watauga’s junior varsity team beat the Spartans 25-20, 25-16 Thursday at Lentz-Eggers Gym.
Blake Byrd finished with four kills, while Arley Rodriguez and Kinley McCoury each finished with three kills.Watauga setter Sarah Combs handed out 15 assists and had three serving aces. Byrd also had three aces for the Pioneers (9-1, 5-0).