By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s volleyball team opened the second half of Mountain Six Conference play with a 25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 25-20 victory over Pisgah last Thursday at the SM gym.
The Lady Mustangs (6-10, 2-4) gained a measure of revenge for an earlier loss to the Sugar Bears.
“One of the true indicators of if we are getting better as a team is when you get beat by a team in the first round and come back out and beat them the second round,” Coach Megan Dezarn said. “We played with a lot of heart and had some determination and drive. We were not going to give up on the ball or on each other.”
Pisgah scored four consecutive points to lead 15-8 in the first set. Caroline Cowan’s five service points and a pair of kills by Melanie Hoyle pulled SM into an 18-18 tie. Kennedy Stewman served the final six points with Natalie Parris having a block and kill.
Stewman’s six points opened a 10-2 lead in the second set. Faith Shuler served six points, and Parris had a kill upping the lead to 17-3. The set ended on Alexa Anderson’s ace.
Carley Raleigh served three points giving the Lady Mustangs a 4-1 edge in the third set. The score stayed close throughout with the Sugar Bears pulling it out in the end.
Raleigh served the first six points of the fourth set. Stewman’s three points and two kills by Shuler made it 12-2. The Sugar Bears came charging back, and a 7-0 run narrowed the deficit to 16-14. Cowan served three points with Hoyle having a block and a kill and Shuler a kill for a 21-15 lead. The match ended on Raleigh’s kill for a side out. Stewman finished with 16 service points, Cowan followed with 14, and Raleigh had 12. Not missing a serve were Raleigh (23), Shuler (11), Parris and Ella Gamble (seven), and Anderson (five). Stewman served 95.7 percent, and Cowan served 95.2 percent. Team serving was 97.9 percent.
The Lady Mustang JVs are 11-5 after a 25-17, 6-25, 15-13 win.
“It was a great win over Pisgah,” Coach Melissa Hill said. “Pisgah gave us our first loss in two sets earlier in the season. The girls had made it one of their objectives to make certain we beat Pisgah this time around. I’m very proud of the girls. Every girl on the team pushed each other to get this win. They showed grit and competitiveness to get the win.”