Clinton’s Lady Dark Horse volleyball teams walked into Spartan Country Tuesday night armed with a desire to avenge their season opening loss the night before in Duplin County.
They did just that against the Union girls, with the JV taking a 2-1 victory and the varsity get the 3-0 sweep.
“Monday was our first game and we had not got all the kinks worked out,” said Clinton coach Jennifer Miller of both teams. We had a lot of little mistakes that cost us, but we came back ready tonight (Tuesday) and I felt much better about the way we played, good about the team.”
Miller only lost one senior after last year’s season, meaning she is virtually returning her entire team to both JV and varsity, a plus as she enters this year.
“They’ve matured and they are playing like a team,” Miller said. “We still have some kinks to work out, but it’s early in the season.”
Union, playing its first game of the season, didn’t have its own kinks worked out, said coach Randi Kay McMillan.
“They played scrappy and aggressive on both JV and varsity, but we’ve got a long way to go yet. We’ve got to work hard on our serves and setting plays.”
Unlike Miller, McMillan has only five returning players, two of them moving up from the junior varsity. “This is really a young varsity team in the sense of the years of experience they have. But this was their first game. They’ve got to get the kinks worked out. We’ve got the talent; it’s just got to be honed a little more.”
Playing at Union, the Spartans jumped out to a lead in the first set, winning 25-12, but Clinton roared back, taking the next two 15-25 and 22-25 to win the match.
McMillan said that Lauren Preddy and Michalya Robinson played very aggressively and consistently at the net the entire night. “They did a good job,” the coach stressed.
Miller noted the play of Skyler Ray, the JV setter, who she said, set the pace for the entire game.
On varsity, Union’s girls could never get going, with Clinton taking a commanding lead from the start, winning in three, 9-25, 12-25 and 17-25.
McMillan said her team still had a ways to go. “They are a new group working together and this was their first game of the season. They will get better as the year progresses.”
Miller on the other hand was pleased with the overall performance of her varsity, saying she saw great teamwork among them.
“It was a great game in terms of that team work, it really was. They came together, they hustled, they showed a total team effort,” Miller stressed.
She singled out the play of Maggie Wells and Spencer Norris. “Each set and hit very well. They had a great game and worked together, feeding off each other.”
Clinton returns to the court Thursday when it plays host to the Spartans for the second time in a week. Union plays again Wednesday at North Duplin before getting a second shot against the Dark Horses Thursday. Both games begin at 4:30.
The Thursday game will be McMillan’s last as head coach, having accepted a job at Roseboro Elementary School as a fourth grade teacher.
While she said she loves her volleyball team and will miss the interaction, she is excited about returning to Roseboro, her home, and teaching at the elementary level.
“I’m excited about the change I have but I’ll miss those girls. I really love that team,” McMillan said.