By David Rogers for HighCountrySports.net
BOONE, N.C. — It was a straight set sweep on Sept. 7 at Lentz Eggers Gym, but visiting Hickory rallied to challenge Watauga volleyball’s roster depth, 25-11, 25-18 and 25-21.
The Pioneers’ big hitters, seniors Caroline Farthing and Brooke Scheffler, powered their way through the contest with 22 and 11 kills, respectively. Scheffler added 18 assists to her stat line, along with a serving ace, two stuff blocks and eight digs, reflecting her balanced production all across the court.
Junior Evie Robbins and senior Cam Norris were backcourt leaders, defensively, keeping the ball in play with 14 and 15 digs, respectively, and near flawless with only one receive error each.
“Hickory is a pretty solid team,” said Farthing after the match. “They’ve lost a few players since last year, but they are still pretty solid. Tonight we got to prove that we have a really deep bench.”
Farthing credited the closer results in the second and third sets to some of those personnel changes, something the Pioneers can afford to experiment with in early season, non-conference matches.
“We had completely different lineups,” explained Farthing. “Usually we come right out into the flow of things (with those changes), but tonight we had some communication issues.”
By late in the third set, Watauga had fixed the communication issues and staged their own rally to pull away from the Red Tornadoes.
Before the match, assistant coach Casey Gragg, on behalf of the team and school, presented head coach Kim Pryor with a hi-res team photo embedded on a plaque to commemorate Pryor’s 200th win. She has coached many of the Watauga athletes since they were in grade school, at different levels.
Watauga is now 7-1 on the still young, non-conference season, the only loss coming on the road at North Iredell on Aug. 19. The Pioneers continue to face strong opposition on Sept. 10, again on the road in a tri-match format against Northwest Guilford of Greensboro and Hough High School of Charlotte suburb, Cornelius.
SELECTED WATAUGA STATS
- Evie Robbins – 1 assist, 15 digs
- Kenzie Baldwin – 3 assists, 2 service aces, 14 digs
- Camryn Norris – 12 assists, 1 service ace, 3 digs
- Brooke Scheffler – 11 kills, 18 assists, 2 stuff blocks, 1 service ace, 8 digs
- Caroline Farthing – 22 kills, 2 stuff blocks, 1 service ace, 10 digs
- Faith Watson – 2 kills, 1 stuff block, 1 dig
- Brooklyn Stanbery – 2 kills, 1 stuff block
- Kate McCullough – 3 stuff blocks, 1 dig
- Sara Marlowe – 2 stuff blocks
- Madi Combs – 3 assists, 3 digs
- Emma Patusic – 2 kills, 2 stuff blocks
- Kora Knight – 1 stuff block