WENDELL — In a back-and-forth battle that took five sets to decide, the East Wake volleyball team held off Harnett Central for a 3-2 win on Thursday.
East Wake head coach Susan Wall thought her Warriors (4-5, 4-2 Greater Neuse River 4A) could have had a stronger showing, but was pleased with the resolve her team showed in the face of adversity.
“We persevered,” Wall said. “It was not what we wanted. We should have dominated, but we won and played OK. We made it through, so I’m proud of their performance.”
The Trojans (0-11, 0-5) came to Wendell in search of their first victory of the season, but aware from the start they’d face a formidable opponent.
“East Wake is always a challenge for us,” Trojans head coach Jason Harrell said. “They play loose. They’re a tough opponent because you’re not going to get in their head.”
Harnett Central did rattle the Warriors by unexpectedly battling back to force the match into a fifth set. Wall said the fourth set – which the Trojans won, 25-22 – was hard to watch at times.
At crunch time, however, Wall’s unit stepped up to the plate and executed with a 15-9 match winner.
“I think they (East Wake) struggled some here and there, but so did we,” Harrell said. “In the end, East Wake is always East Wake. They’re a good opponent.”
The Warriors’ struggles were most apparent in the second and fourth sets, where they fell by scores of 25-16 and 25-22, respectively. Those scores stood in stark contrast to the 25-7 throttling East Wake handed Harnett Central in the opening set.
Junior Ciera Williams, the Warriors’ libero, said her team had some shaky moments but overall knew what had to be done to win.
“Some of the keys were getting the passes on point, so that our hitters could kill them,” Williams said. “Our bench stepped it up tonight, too, which was really encouraging.”
The main hitters Williams referenced were senior captain Briana Arnold and Angel Rizor, one of just two sophomores on East Wake’s roster. Arnold and Rizor towered over the Trojans’ front line, establishing a dominating net presence with several blocks and kills.
Williams also played a large role in the Warriors’ victory. Behind her tall strikers, she appeared to have every square inch of the court covered, diving often to keep a point alive. She also served well in the win.
“I just try to keep the same routine,” Williams said of her service, which caused troubles for the Trojans.