One night after falling in a five-set battle at Johnston County rival Clayton to start Greater Neuse 3-A Conference play, South Johnston’s varsity volleyball team suffered another conference setback in a 3-0 loss to visiting county rival West Johnston on Thursday. Individual set scores were 25-20, 25-22 and 25-14.
“The louder, more energetic team won,” said South Johnston coach Matthew Adams. “I tell my girls all the time, ‘The louder team is normally going to play better.’ And they were tonight. I just challenged some of my girls, because they play pretty quiet and don’t get riled up. But you play against a team like that, it was like their energy and their volume and their celebrations and all that stuff, that affects you mentally as a player. They could do no wrong on their side of the net. We couldn’t stop Megan (Bost). She’s a great player over there. We couldn’t stop anybody. We weren’t running offense. We were giving them easy balls to pass and to run their offense and they executed their offense very well. We didn’t do a lot well.”
The Trojans (10-3, 0-2 GNC) were led by a pair of seniors, as LeeAnna Hines had nine kills and two blocks and Jenna Brown had eight kills and three blocks.
Katon Blackmon had five kills, one block, six digs and two aces on six service points. Jordyn Brown had four kills and one dig. Carlye Durham had two kills and two digs. Paige Toler had two kills and one dig. Savannah Smith had one kill. Mattie Wheeless had 24 assists and five digs. Hannah Beasley had five assists and one dig and held serve for two points. Kennedy Byrd had two assists and 20 digs and held serve for five points. Erica Stanley had 11 digs. Jenna Brown had eight digs and held serve for three points. Callie Sutton had six digs and held serve for three points. Hines had one dig.
Senior Megan Bost had 19 kills, senior Madison Greene had 29 assists and senior Sarah Hobby had five aces on 11 service points to lead the Wildcats (8-3, 2-0).
South struggled to open the contest, as West started with a 12-3 run. South rallied to cut the lead to as low as three, at 23-20, but a pair of errors ended the set.
South held a 14-12 lead in the second set when West went on a 4-1 run to take the lead and went on to hold off South to take the set.
Holding an 8-7 lead in the third set, West dominated the remainder of the set, outscoring South 17-7 to finish the match.
South Johnston travels to nonconference Goldsboro (9-1) on Monday before returning to conference play at county rival Smithfield-Selma (0-9, 0-2) on Tuesday.
“Our conference has a big four and we played two of them in the first week on back-to-back nights,” Adams said. “We have to stick together, for one thing. Sometimes losing can create issues and drama and that kind of thing. So, sticking together is going to be part of that. And just gaining some confidence back. Next week, we’ve got Goldsboro, which is a really good team, in nonconference and then East Wake (Thursday) and Triple-S. So, just trying to get some wins in the column and then going from there.”