Triton battled hard on its varsity volleyball Senior Night, but fell 3-1 to visiting Tri-County Six 3-A Conference foe Lee County to end the regular season Tuesday. Individual set scores were 25-27, 25-14, 25-23 and 25-19.
The match was played at Cape Fear Christian Academy as repairs due to storm damage are in progress at Triton.
“A few mistakes here and there at the wrong times,” said Triton coach Wendy Simmons. “But I was very happy to see the enthusiasm and the effort and the determination. It’s something I’ve been looking for all season long. This is the right time to be peaking, so maybe we’re not finished yet. Hopefully not.”
Senior Hannah Jackson had seven kills and two blocks. Junior Evie Pollard had six kills and one block to lead the Hawks (8-14, 3-7 TCSC) at the net.
Junior Breighanna Hobbs had one of her best performances to date, with four kills and 15 digs.
“Sometimes I wonder if she’s getting a little bit tired playing all the way around,” Simmons said. “But tonight, I felt like she stepped up and did a lot better hitting, her serve seemed pretty consistent and she played a good back row. I’m very pleased with her play tonight.”
Including Hobbs, Triton had five players in double digits defensively. Sophomore Gracyn Slaughter had 22 digs, senior Alexis Howard had 17 digs, Jackson had 13 digs and senior Sarah Phillips had 10 digs.
Addie Matthews had four kills, one assist, one block, four digs and four aces on six service points. Tyler Grace Gamblin had three kills, 23 assists, one block, seven digs and three aces on eight service points. Phillips had two kills. Slaughter had one kill, one assist and three aces on 11 service points. Bethany Norris had one kill, two blocks and two digs. Pollard had one assist and three digs. Jackson had one assist and three aces on five service points. Hobbs held serve for one point.
Simmons was pleased with how several players stepped up with the team missing senior captain Ella Layn, who suffered an ankle injury at Harnett Central on Monday.
“Losing somebody like Ella, your leading stat-person in probably all the stats, it’s hard to swallow,” Simmons said. “But I felt that some of the girls stepped up and played the way they were capable of playing. We’ve just got to keep doing it and doing it consistently.”
A group of seniors led the Yellow Jackets (14-4, 8-2). Elyria Hackney had a match-high 11 kills and four aces on 10 service points. Kamryn Bivens had nine kills and one block. Mackenzie Hulsey had seven kills, 23 assists and four aces on 11 service points. Taylor Rosser led all servers with five aces on 14 service points.
The first set was hotly contested and went all the way to extra points. With the set tied at 25, a Jackson kill, assisted by Gamblin, and a Gamblin ace gave Triton the set.
A pair of 5-0 runs in the second set gave Lee full control of the set and Triton was unable to rally.
The third set was another closely contested set all the way to the end. After Triton scored to get within 24-23, a Bivens kill, assisted by Hulsey, ended the set.
Holding a 16-14 lead in the fourth set, Lee went on a 4-0 run to get separation. Triton continued to battle, but with Lee holding a 23-19 lead, a Triton error and a Megan Collins ace ended the match.
After the match, Triton honored five seniors: Ella Layn, Sarah Pope, Alexis Howard, Sarah Phillips and Hannah Jackson.
Triton’s junior varsity team ended its season with a 2-1 win over Lee County.
Triton will host in the first round of the conference tournament Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The match will be played at Cape Fear Christian Academy.
“Hopefully the girls can cut out the mistakes and play like they’re capable of playing consistently,” Simmons said.