There is apparently no truth to reports that upon arriving back at the college at 3:30 a.m. on Monday, after a victorious weekend in New York City, the Sandhills Community College volleyball team went directly to Heins Gymnasium for an early morning practice.
But on Friday, the Lady Flyers were back at it at their regular 6:30 a.m. practice time coming off a 25-16, 25-22 and 25-10 win at Wake Tech Community College the evening before. Coach Alicia Riggan's No. 8 ranked (NJCAA Division III poll) squad improved to 11-0.
They return to action in a 1 p.m. Region X conference contest at Rockingham CC on Saturday.
"I'm not a morning person, so it's really hard to get up," says freshman outside hitter Brooke Sayers who got home at about 10 p.m. on Wednesday, did homework until 11 and was up again at 5:30 a.m. "It's been easier since the season started. It's a lot of hard work and I didn't think it was going to be as much hard work as it is."
The Pinecrest High School graduate is second on the team in kills, digs and service aces. She was credited with five kills, 15 digs and one ace against the Division II Eagles. On a night that all-region middle hitter Paige Garner recorded a career-low two kills, another freshman outside, Kaitlyn Lisenby, led the Lady Flyers in that department with nine.
"We didn't have a lot of attempts in the middle last night," Riggan said. "Paige was very powerful and got a lot of touches on blocks. We lean on her a lot to kind of carry us in that hitting category.
In a nice bounce-back from the team's inconsistent play in a win at home against Vance-Granville on Wednesday, the Flyers committed just one serve receive error. Libero Erica Groff added 13 digs. Setters Abby Wallace and Leah Salzwedel combined for a total of 16 assists.
"What I really liked about the girls last night was that everybody stepped up in the area they needed to and did what they are really good at," the coach said. "We were super-scrappy getting after every ball. It was fun to watch the girls be tenacious like that.
"And our sideline was phenomenal. They are so loud. Everybody has a job and it's cool to see people understand different roles. It was good to see the girls take care of business on somebody else's court."
Riggan says that Sayers' athleticism reminds her of Chandler Adams from last year's team.
"Anytime we are doing a drill, and there is a consequence behind it, Brooke is determined not to lose," the coach said. "It's fun to watch that because the girls feed off her energy. I watched her at Pinecrest for years and it's fun to watch her mature as a player."
The undefeated record and ranking means opponents will have an extra incentive when they play the Flyers. In addition to Rockingham they have road matches at Central Carolina CC and Johnson and Wales before their next home date against Davidson County CC on September 21.
"I'm really proud of everybody for the 11-0 because now we are nationally ranked," Sayers says. "It drives me now to not want to lose. I want to keep going."