DUBLIN — Matching the program’s best starts of the last decade, West Bladen has found a formula that could last all year.
“We’re good when we work together,” senior Caroline Davis said after the Lady Knights dispatched visiting Red Springs 25-19, 25-22, 25-15 at the Castle on Tuesday. The Three Rivers Conference triumph lifted West Bladen to 3-0, matching starts of 2016 and 2012.
It’s also a welcome turnaround from last year’s uncharacteristic 0-8 start.
“We’re good individually,” Davis continued, “but it doesn’t matter if we don’t communicate. It makes a big difference.”
She said the camaraderie extends off the court as well, and that’s not a bad niche to have for a team with just four players in its returning nucleus.
“We played really good,” Davis said. “We got a little nervous there, when they started coming back. Coach Davis called timeout and we pulled it together.”
Junior Lexie Corrothers’ spike and senior Raegan Davis’ ace set a tone in the opening moments, and sophomore Sidnee Walters’ spike ballooned the lead to 7-1. The Lady Red Devils climbed no closer than 18-15, then in the second set led and were close until the service game of Caroline Davis bumped the hosts ahead 20-14.
Red Springs garnered a 5-1 lead to open the final set behind the serving of Winter Chavis, fading as the Lady Knights posted 24 of the final 33 points.
Eighth-year head coach Gaye Davis — no relation to Caroline, mother of Raegan — said her team played well and agrees the chemistry thus far is pivotal and positive. Her constructive critique includes improvement in the service game and blocking at the net.
“We didn’t let up,” she said. “We kept it going.”
She added the squad is good when “everybody does their job and they’re playing together and having fun.”
The Lady Knights were led by 15 kills and 14 assists from Raegan Davis and seven service points from junior Tatiana Hunt. Kills by Walters, Corrothers, sophomore Shelby Pharr and sophomore Amelia Brisson, service points from Caroline Davis and junior Mikayla Meadows, and setting assists from junior Jordan Benson were instrumental.
West Bladen rolled in the junior varsity match 25-11, 25-21. The first win of the year in three matches overall and two in the league included key service work from Caroline Brisson, Ashlyn Cox, Kaylee Page and Lauren Pait, and net play by Hannah Pait, Taylor West, Erica Storms and Savannah Turbeville.
Lexie Corrothers and her big smile is greeted by West Bladen teammates, from left, Sidnee Walters, Caroline Davis, Raegan Davis, Jordan Benson and Mikayla Meadows at the close of the first set against Red Springs on Tuesday. The Lady Knights won in straight sets.
Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @alanwooten19.