ROWLAND — It wasn’t pretty on Tuesday night, but the East Columbus volleyball team came away with a three-set sweep, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24, of South Robeson in Three Rivers Conference play.
The Mustangs were able to hang around in all three sets, holding early leads in both the first and third sets and tying the second set at 20-20 before East Columbus went on a 5-2 run to clinch the win.
South Robeson’s best chance to win came in the third set, which the team led most of the way, including going up 24-20 before the Mustangs gave up two aces to the Gators and committed four hitting errors to give East Columbus the 26-24 set and match win.
“We have to get more consistent,” South Robeson coach Donnie Carter said. “We have to control the ball. That’s the game of volleyball. You have to put it where you want, and today we were all over the place. Our passes were going backwards or going to the sidelines, our setters weren’t consistent. I think we are getting there, but for me, we are about halfway through the season, and we have to get better.”
Senior Illiyah White-Bennett said games like this aren’t all bad, because it shows the team what they need to improve on.
“They are very important. It helps us to learn what we have to work on,” she said. “Right now our passing is a little shaky, overall we are doing pretty good though.”
The South Robeson team is a young team and is learning on the job, with only one senior on the roster in White-Bennett.
“She is our front line player, our go to player,” Carter said. “She is going to perform and we know she is going to perform.”
That doesn’t mean the team doesn’t have other players to look to or who will step up.
“We definitely have a lot of leaders on the team,” White-Bennett said. “We have a lot of people who take leadership whenever a leader steps off the court.”
One of those was Kada Hunt on Tuesday night.
“Hunt is actually a reserve and started today and stepped up today and played a very good game,” Carter said.
Carter said the biggest issue the team is going to have to address is staying more focused in games. He said that is one of the problems that led to the loss Tuesday.
“We will mentally phase out sometimes instead of being focused on the moment,” he said. “We will start thinking about what we have already done, and we need to focus on the moment at a high level, and we didn’t do it today.”
The mistakes are fixable in Carter’s eye’s though.
“What we did today, we can get better at,” he said. “There are things that we control, and as long as we control it, we can get better at it. Our girls will work hard and fix it.”
Fairmont improves to 5-0
FAIRMONT— Fairmont high school defeated West Columbus 3-0, winning 25-8, 25-11, 25-13. Fairmont (5-0, 2-0) was led by Niya Dickens with 5 aces and 5 kills. Brianna McKnight also had 5 aces and 4 kills and Reva Locklear had 8 assists. The Golden Tornadoes host Lumberton at 5:30 tonight.
St. Pauls drops match to Whiteville
WHITEVILLE — The struggles of the St. Pauls volleyball team (0-5) continued Tuesday night as the Bulldogs dropped straight sets to Whiteville on the road 25-14, 25-12, 25-9.
St. Pauls soccer beats West Bladen
ST. PAULS — The St. Pauls soccer team (2-0) won its home opener 3-1 against West Bladen. The Bulldogs went up 2-1 before the half and added a third goal after the break.
LHS soccer loses to New Hanover
WILMINGTON — The Lumberton soccer team struggled to stop New Hanover from scoring in a 6-1 road loss. The Pirates (3-3) allowed four goals in the first 35 minutes before Jose Galindo broke the shutout in the 38th minute. The Wildcats scored two more in the second half.
Jack Kiernan and Nolan Fischer had two goals each for New Hanover, with Foster Willis and Franco Fernandez also scoring. Lumberton was limited to four shots, compared to 34 by New Hanover.
Swett tennis sweeps Richmond
PEMBROKE — Kali Strickland got wins in both singles and doubles to help Purnell Swett tennis (3-2, 2-0) get a 9-0 win against Richmond, moving her closer to two personal milestones. Strickland has 30 career doubles wins and is two away from her 40th career singles wins. She will be the first tennis player in school history to achieve the 40-30 feat.
Singles: Strickland (PS) def. Ransom 6-0, 6-0; Oxendine (PS) def. Grimes 6-1, 3-6, 10-7; G. Locklear (PS) def. McLean 6-0, 6-0; Scott (PS) def. Haley 6-3, 6-2; Huggins (PS) def. Rich 6-4, 6-3; and S. Locklear (PS) def. Buie 6-1, 6-2. Doubles: Strickland/Scott (PS) def. Ransom/Grimes 8-2; Oxendine/G. Locklear (PS) def. McLean/Rich 8-4; and Huggins/Clark (PS) def. Haley/Collins 8-6.