The Sandhills Community College volleyball team turned a long Saturday at the Hangar into a fruitful one by defeating Patrick Henry CC 25-18, 25-19 and 25-16 and Davidson County CC 25-21, 25-16, 18-25 and 25-23.
The Lady Flyers improved to 10-10 overall and 2-0 in Region X with the win over Patrick Henry which dropped to 4-9 and 3-1. Davidson fell to 4-9 with the non-conference loss to the Flyers.
On a day the campus was bustling with entertaining activities, Davidson defeated Patrick Henry 3-1 in the middle game of the Homecoming and Alumni Day triple-header.
The Flyers hit the road for 6 p.m. non-conference matches at Guilford Tech on Tuesday and Lenoir CC on Wednesday.
First Place in Region X at Stake in the Opener
The Flyers were seeking their 22nd Region X win in a row in the opener against a Patrick Henry squad that was off to a 3-0 start in conference play.
"They've been our rival for the last four years since they came into the conference," Flyers' Coach Alicia Riggan said of the team from Martinsville, VA. "We wanted a sweep because the loss of a set can be a tie-breaker in the standings."
All three sets against the Patriots were close before the Flyers pulled away. Tied at 14-14, two aces in a row by Camryn Lowe, and then two kills each by Khalie Jones and Christen Clontz, contributed to the seven straight points that secured the first set.
The second set was knotted up at 18-18 when the Flyers scored seven of the last eight points with middle hitter Carley Modlin doing much of the damage at the net. Kills by Morrigan Denman accounted for the final two points of the third.
Modlin finished with 10 kills and four solo blocks. Lowe contributed 15 assists and four aces. A good all-around effort by Clontz added up to five kills and 12 digs. Defensive specialist Stephanie Pages also contributed a dozen digs.
Modlin, Lowe and Williams Lead the Way against the Storm
The festive day on the campus contributed to the largest home crowd of the season. The Flyers were within one set of a double sweep when the inconsistency that has marked the team's play this season showed up again.
On the way to a college career-best 21 kills and six solo blocks, Modlin was set up by Lowe for the final two points of the closely played first set against Davidson. The Flyers won the second set before allowing the Storm to get back into the match with an uneven performance in the third.
"I don't know what happened," Riggan said. "This was our opportunity to really shine and I was disappointed to see that we lost our energy and our momentum."
A fifth set loomed as a possibility before a service error by the Storm gave the Flyers the final point in the 25-23 win that ended the match.
"We come in early and stay late," Modlin said of the timing she is developing with setters Lowe and Adison Campbell.
Lowe was credited with 30 assists and Campbell had 13. Willow Williams added 24 digs to the 17 she had against Patrick Henry.
The double-win was a welcome response to losses in their previous two matches.
"Especially coming off how we played on Tuesday (3-0 loss at Johnson and Wales)," Williams said. "We had to step up our game which is what we did today."
Her coach is impressed with the libero's even demeanor.
"Willow does a great job of reading the ball and she's so quick," Riggan says. "She's a really good passer too. She never gets frustrated or very high. She kind of stays very mellow."
Lady Flyer Extra – A product of Southern Alamance High School, Williams attributes the consistency she has demonstrated as a Flyer to the influence of her mother, Tracy Herring, who played volleyball and softball at Elon in the 1990's. She is third in career service aces for the Phoenix and her name also appears in the batting and fielding sections of the college's softball record book. "She's amazing," Willow says. "She tells me that this world is a roller coaster and that you are going to have highs and lows. As long as you stay on the same path you are going to get through them." Modlin is third in the nation with 46 solo blocks. Her 21 kills against Davidson are the most by a Lady Flyer since Paige Garner (in attendance on Saturday) had 21 against Piedmont International on 10/18/16. The Pinecrest High School grad has enjoyed watching some of her former team's games this season. Her sisters Chloe and Emmie are two of the leading hitters as sophomores on a Patriot squad that is off to a 14-1 start.