WHS volleyball team beats A.C. Reynolds
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga’s volleyball team seems to have this playoff thing under control.
The Pioneers reached the third round of the playoffs again courtesy of a 3-1 victory over former Northwestern Conference rival A.C. Reynolds Tuesday at Lentz-Eggers Gym. Watauga claimed a 25-16, 25-15, 20-25, 26-24 win over the Rockets.
Watauga plays again Thursday against powerful Hough, which beat Sun Valley 25-15, 25-11, 25-7. Hough beat Watauga 3-0 in a trimatch played at Lentz-Eggers Gym earlier in the season.
The Pioneers reached the third round of the playoffs for the third straight season under coach Kris Hagaman. The Pioneers went to the Western Regional finals last year before falling to Providence.
In Hagaman’s first season, Watauga went to the regional semifinals.
“It’s kind of like last year when we showed up in the playoffs,” Watauga setter Kristen Carter said. “Our plan is to keep going on that peak.”
Watauga trailed most of the fourth set, but Reynolds could not build a lead bigger than 19-16. Watauga eventually pulled even to tie 22-22, and neither team led by more than one points until a Channing Hagaman kill combined with an A.C. Reynolds error gave the Pioneers the final two points they needed to seal the victory.
Watauga’s offense wore down A.C. Reynolds in the first two sets, and then helped the Pioneers come back to win the fourth. Channing Hagaman finished with 28 kills, while Rebecca Hayes finished with 20. Sarah Peterson added nine kills.
Most of those sets came from Kristen Carter, who dished out 52 assists. Reynolds struggled to block Hagaman and Hayes in the first two sets, which allowed the Pioneers to close both sets out early.
“I really think we caught them off guard,” Kris Hagaman said. “We came out strong. I think it surprised them. I don’t think they thought we would be as strong as that and (A.C. Reynolds) decided to play in the third set.”
Watauga looked like it would pull off a sweep by taking an 8-4 lead in the third set, but Reynolds reeled off five straight points to claim a 9-8 advantage. It eventually increased to 20-13 after the Pioneers struggled to find their offensive rhythm.
“They had a server or two that ran up quite a few points,” Hagaman said. “We had a hard time getting (the momentum) back, but we came back in the fourth.”