DUBLIN — In one of the hardest-fought matches of the season so far, West Bladen managed to edge Union High in a Four County Conference volleyball showdown on Tuesday by the scores of 25-14, 20-25, 25-27, 25-14 and 16-14.
The win set up another conference showdown with Wallace-Rose Hill on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Courtney Thompson led the Lady Knights with 21 service points and six aces — along with 13 kills and four blocks. Mallory Davis was right behind with 12 kills, 12 service points and five blocks.
Taylor Stephens contributed 20 service points for West Bladen, and teammate Codi Pait had 14 service points with a pair of aces.
The Lady Knights also got 11 service points with two aces and five kills from Morgan Sweeney, while Breanna Jackson added 10 service points.
— In Elizabethtown on Monday, the Bulldogs tallied five first-half scores, then played stiff defense through the second half to preserve a 5-0 win.
East Bladen played its own tough defense in the second half, with goalie Matt Massengill getting credit for a number of saves. In all, Massengill recorded 12 saves in the nets. Wade Owen saw some action in the Eagles’ net in the second half and picked up one save.
Wallace-Rose Hill sent 18 shots at the East Bladen nets, while the Eagles took seven shots in the match.
— In Clinton on Monday, the Dark Horses scored just two minutes into the match and it turned out to be the winner against the Knights. But Clinton went on to add eight more goals before the match was called.
By halftime, the Dark Horses had taken a 5-0 lead — including two goals within a minute and a third just 4 minutes later.
Clinton, which is undefeated through five matches in conference play, outshot West Bladen by a 23-2 margin in the match.
— In Dublin on Wednesday, the Midway Raiders came to town and handed West Bladen a 3-1 Four County Conference loss.
The Knights got on the board first when Clay Allen took a pass from John Waldrop and fired a scoring shot into the Midway net just 10 minutes into the match.
But the Raiders knotted the match about 16 minutes later, then tacked on two goals in the second half to seal the win.
— In Clinton on Wednesday, Colby Hester scored twice and Joel Cromartie had a goal and two assists to lead East Bladen past Union 4-1 in a Four County Conference match.
Cromartie put the Eagles on the board just 8 minutes in off a pass from Ryan Baxley.
After the Spartans knotted the match, Hester took a feed from Cromartie and scored to give East Bladen the lead for good. Just 10 minutes later, Hester was given a penalty shot in close, and he fired a shot into the back of the net for a 3-1 halftime edge.
In the second half, East Bladen scored at the 12-minute mark when Cromartie found Logan Baxley with a pass, and Baxley finished things off with a goal.
— In Burgaw on Tuesday, the Lady Knights defeated Pender 9-0 in a Four County Conference match.
West Bladen gave up just nine games en route to the shutout.
In singles action, Josie Ludlum at No 1, Alicia Avellaneda at No. 2, Madison Staton at No. 3 and Alanna Ludlum at No. 4 each won their matches by 8-0 scores.
— In Teachey on Tuesday, the Lady Eagles took a 9-0 loss at the hands of Wallace-Rose Hill in a Four County Conference match.
In singles, Kathryn Cole at No. 1 (6-3, 6-2), Leighanne Kelly at No. 2 (6-3, 6-2) and Justayna Gargala at No. 3 (6-2, 6-4) all suffered tough losses in hard-fought matches.
East Bladen mustered just five game-winners the rest of the way.
— In Elizabethtown on Tuesday, Midway High easily handled the Lady Eagles in a Four County Conference match, despite a hiccup in the third game.
The Lady Raiders took the match by the scores of 25-11, 25-20, 11-25 and 25-5.
Miller Heustess led East Bladen with 16 service points, while Abbey Norris contributed 11 kills and two blocks. Lacey Suggs had nine kills.