Western Harnett’s varsity volleyball team picked up its first win of the season by handing Harnett County and Tri-County Six 3-A Conference rival Triton its first loss of the season 3-1 on Tuesday. Individual set scores were 25-12, 21-25, 25-23 and 25-11.
“We struggled with our energy last night at Harnett Central (a 3-0 loss),” said Western Harnett coach Hallie Hales. “So, that was our big coaching point tonight was, ‘We have to come out with a different mindset.’ They brought that and then they slacked up a little bit, but then they found it again. So, that was a plus.”
The Hawks were coming off a 3-0 home win on Monday over Southern Lee, which had topped Western, 3-2, last week. Set scores with the Cavaliers were 25-20, 25-19 and 25-21.
Triton coach Wendy Simmons said the Hawks struggled with their passing during the match at Western.
“Which is not something we’ve been struggling with,” Simmons said. “So, that was not a welcome sight. It seemed like when we were passing well, we played well and when we weren’t passing, we didn’t. Hopefully we can regroup and get that back to where it needs to be.”
Junior Makenyia Mackey had a dominant performance, recording a double-double to lead the Eagles (1-3, 1-2 TCSC).
“She definitely did very well,” Hales said. “Last night she was in a funk. So, it was her mindset. If she’s on, she’s on. And I think our setter (Lindsey Worrell) was in a more positive mindset, getting more sets that we didn’t have last night and it makes a huge difference.”
The defense of senior libero Logan Holmes was also a major key for Western, as she totaled a match-high 17 digs.
“She’s really come around,” Hales said. “Our first game she was really getting the feel of it, the speed and everything, because it was a long time off. She’s kind of settled in to that position now. She’s moving and getting to a lot more than she was. Only place to go is up.”
Senior setter Lindsey Worrell also had a double-double for Wester, with a match-high 43 assists and 11 digs. She also held serve for eight points.
Makyia Mackey had 10 kills, two digs and a match-high five aces on 15 service points. Tristan Stewart had six kills, one block and one dig and held serve for three points. Carolina Simpkins had two kills, a match-high three blocks and two digs and held serve for four points. Erin Kelly had one kill, eight digs and two aces on five service points. Kinsley Holder had four digs and held serve for four points.
Senior Bethany Norris had 15 kills to lead the Hawks (2-1, 2-1).
“She was the only one really doing anything offensively for us,” Simmons said. “We needed to keep giving her the ball, because they weren’t able to stop her. I thought she played a great game at the net.”
Simmons liked the energy junior Makayla Norris brought off of the bench for Triton. She totaled seven digs and one ace on four service points.
“She plays with a lot of heart, so that makes a difference,” Simmons said. “And if she keeps working hard, she’ll see a lot of playing time back there (on defense).”
Gracyn Slaughter had six kills, 13 digs and one ace on five service points. Carleigh Hemby had four kills and four digs. Breonna McNeill had three kills, one assist and six digs. Grace Wilson had two kills and six digs. Reagan Bradham had one kill, 28 assists, six digs and three aces on 13 service points. Sydney Morrison had one kill, one assist and six digs and held serve for three points. Bethany Norris had one block, three digs and one ace on two service points. Chelby Pascale had six digs and held serve for one point.
The Eagles started off strong, opening the first set on a 19-5 run. The Hawks battled back to cut the lead to 10, at 22-12, but a service error, a Makyia Mackey ace and a Simpkins kill off of an overpass ended the set.
Triton opened the second set on a 9-1 run and held off every attempt at a rally, never letting the lead drop below five the rest of the set. The set ended on a Slaughter kill, assisted by Bradham.
The third set was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than four. With Triton holding a late 23-22 lead, a Makenyia Mackey kill, assisted by Worrell, a Triton error and another Makenyia Mackey kill, also assisted by Worrell, gave the Eagles the set.
The fourth set was close early, but with Triton holding a 6-3 lead, Western took control by finishing the match on a 22-5 run, capped by a Makenyia Mackey kill, assisted by Worrell.
“We were down 2-1 at Lee Senior and kept fighting back,” Simmons said. “But we just didn’t seem to have it in us tonight. Hopefully we can regroup and be ready next Tuesday.”
Triton won the junior varsity match 2-1.
After the Thanksgiving break, both teams return to conference play on the road Tuesday. Western Harnett travels to Lee County and Triton visits defending conference champion Union Pines.