Lady Eagles keep excellent season going
UPDATE: The Lady Eagles received a bye in the first round of the state playoffs and will play Pine Lake Prep at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at home.
Hiwassee Dam – No one predicted that Hiwassee Dam might obtain the success it has this season.
Except for the girls that make-up the Lady Eagles volleyball squad, that is.
They believed. They bonded. They pushed themselves to the limit and then dug deeper. Hiwassee Dam has pushed itself to a 14-6 record, an undefeated run through the Little Smoky Mountain Conference and the potential for a high seed in the state playoffs.
The Lady Eagles have enjoyed proving the naysayers wrong, no more than the two seniors that have led the team, Hannah Rhodes and Madison Crisp. Both were recognized for their contributions to the program, prior to Thursday night’s game against Robbinsville.
“I’ve always been proud to be an Eagle,” Crisp said. “We’ve always acted as a team and worked as a team. It’s obviously a good thing that we’ve been so successful. It’s my last year, so I’m very proud of everyone. I couldn’t ask for a better team.
The match itself against the Black Knights did not go according to plan, but the future Lady Eagles showed why they will be a force in the coming years. Jaylan Hamby, Kaylee Cornelius and Erika Sena were strong in both their offensive and defensive attacks, whether it be on the back-line or at the net. Brittany Davis’ sets were on-point throughout, while serves from both Izzy Malinowski and Sena gave Robbinsville fits.
The Lady Knights persevered and pieced together mini-runs throughout, building leads in the three-set affair that Hiwassee Dam was unable to overcome. Robbinsville picked up a 25-14, 25-20, 25-18 win.
Sena finished the match with three aces, three kills, two blocks and seven digs. Crisp tallied one ace, three kills and two digs, while Rhodes contributed one ace and one dig. Hamby had eight kills, five blocks, one dig and one assist, while Malinowski mixed in two kills and two blocks.
The match against Robbinsville ended an eight-game winning streak for the Lady Eagles. The final win of the run came in a five-set battle against Andrews on Oct. 10, which Hiwassee Dam won 25-16, 25-15, 21-25, 20-25, 15-7.
Davis ended the match against the Lady Wildcats with seven aces, 20 assists and nine digs. Cornelius tallied four aces, six kills, four blocks and one dig, while Sena added three aces, 10 kills, one block, two digs and two assists. Hamby (two aces, six kills and four blocks) and Crisp (two aces, four kills, two blocks and two digs) also aided the cause.
“I’ve enjoyed playing with all my teammates,” Rhodes added. “It’s been a joy, but it’s been hard. At the beginning of the year, I realized we were really going to have to work. But at our first game, I knew we were going to be pretty good this year.
“I can’t thank them enough for playing as hard as they could and making my senior year great.”
JV now 16-2
Good luck derailing the Lady Eagles in future years.
If this year is any indication of what is to come, not only will the varsity be tough, but the rising crop of junior varsity players will add a sense of depth that will be formidable to any adversary. Hiwassee Dam (16-2) has only lost to Murphy and Andrews this season, contributing two more wins by besting the Lady Wildcats 25-19, 25-19 in a rematch and sweeping the Lady Knights 25-22, 25-14.
While facing Robbinsville, the Lady Eagles had to overcome a 22-19 deficit in set one. Throughout the match, McKensie Pinder and Kenda Roberts kept the Lady Knights on their toes with some strong serves and Pinder joined with Dezeray Adams for dominance at the net.
With all these components in place, Hiwassee Dam started clicking late and went 6-0 to win the set. Kayley Sells shined at the serving line in both sets, moreso in the second set, where the Lady Eagles opened up a 15-4 advantage en route to the win.
Sells totaled three aces and one dig in the match. Roberts had two aces, three kills and two digs, while Pinder added two aces, two kills and one block. Adams also had two aces and four kills against Robbinsville.
In the match against Andrews, Adams recorded three aces, three kills and three digs. Chloe Roe racked up two aces, five kills and one block, while Sells totaled one ace, two kills, two digs and nine assists.
While awaiting playoff seeding, Hiwassee Dam finished the regular season after Tuesday’s press deadline at Hayesville.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association will release the state 1A playoff seeding today.
Visit www.cherokeescout.com for updates on Hiwassee Dam’s first-round match.