The Sandhills Community College volleyball team shook off the cobwebs from a nine-day layoff just in time to defeat Wake Tech 25-18, 14-25, 18-25, 25-21 and 15-9 in Raleigh on Wednesday.
Trailing 2-1 in sets, the Lady Flyers were tied at 21-21 in the potentially match-ending fourth before winning the final four points and carrying that momentum into the tie-breaker game.
"We showed a lot of heart," setter Abby Wallace said afterward. "We've been off for a long time because of the hurricane. We just had to get that out of the way and come together as a team."
Coach Alicia Riggan's squad improved to 10-3 with its fifth win in a row and ninth in the last 10 matches. The Flyers are idle until Monday when they travel to Sanford for a 7 p.m. Region X contest against Central Carolina CC (1-6).
The Eagles hadn't played a match in 12 days, but led 16-14 in the first set before Shaedyn Housh served for six points in a row, including two aces, to help the Flyers gain the 1-0 lead. The home team won the next two sets decisively with the Flyers connecting on only 12 of 62 attack attempts with a dozen errors.
A block, and then a kill by middle blocker Tee'Ashia Lilly, and a service ace by Rachael Mashburn, helped get the Flyers off to a 6-1 start in a tense fourth set. The Eagles caught up, but Kaitlyn Lisenby had three key kills late in the set for the Flyers to help send the match to a tiebreaker.
"We were a little frustrated, but we got our energy back," Lilly said. "It makes us play harder when we play hard teams."
Riggan's squad was at its best in the 15-point finale, committing just one attacking error. Leading 8-6, Mashburn and Lisenby were each credited with two kills, and Lilli Inman had one, leading to the completion of the comeback.
Lisenby with 10 kills and 16 digs, and Mashburn with 10 and 15, both notched double-doubles as did Wallace with 34 assists and 12 digs. Housh finished with 24 digs and four service aces. Inman with 12 was the fifth Flyer to reach double figures in digs.
The Flyers are scheduled to meet the Eagles again next Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Hangar. With the win they improved to 5-1 against Division II teams this season.
"I'm so proud of the girls for their fight," Riggan said. "They easily could have rolled over. They came together and pulled out the win.
"We have to stay focused and be ready. Wake Tech has a great team and they are going to want to do the same thing on our court. I want to play teams like that. That's what makes us better."
Among those supporting the team at Wake Tech were former Lady Flyer and North Moore High School teammates Paige Garner and Cheyenne Brown who are now students at UNC-Chapel Hill. Garner, a middle blocker, earned NJCAA All-American and Region X Player of the Year honors last season. Brown was an All-Region X selection in both of her seasons as the Flyer setter. She was also there to root on her sister, Kiana Brown, a sophomore defensive specialist.