It only took about an hour for the Lady Leopards to move into the second round of the NCHAA 1A state volleyball playoffs. They beat third seed Ayden-Grifton in three sets, 25-17, 25-5, and 25-17.
Big plays by seniors Teisha Rich and Morgan Herring continued to move the Lakewood volleyball team forward. In the first game, the Leopards were trailing 4-5 until Rich attacked from the corner and hit three kill shots in a row off of assists from senior Allyson Heinz.
The score was back and forth until it reached 11-all and then the Leopards went on a 6 to 2 scoring spree. Herring solidified the lead when she punched in three aces in a row from the serving line to push past the Chargers 20-13. A-G caught a second wind and put four more points on the board, but it was too little too late.
In the second game, powerhouse Herring dominated from the serving line. The score was 1-all when she was handed the ball. It was 15-2 when the Chargers finally got it back. Herring fired off seven aces during that time, and Ayden-Grifton was not able to mount a come back.
The third game was much like the second, but the Chargers were able to push back into the game and put 7 points on the board as they chased a big lead by Lakewood. Once again it was not enough to stop the Leopards.
Herring put down 10 aces out of 23 service points, plus 6 kills. Rich got 3 aces out of 10 service points, plus 13 kill shots. Allyson Heinz got 5 service points and 26 assists; Bailey Dudley, 12 service points, 5 kills; Jache Servance, 2 service points, 2 kills; Anna Heinz, 6 service points; Rashyda Parker, 4 kills; and Sydney Febres, 1 ace out of 5 service points.
Lakewood head coach Sheila Davidson said the team was fatigued coming into this game, but after a little heart-to-heart, the Leopards got it in gear.
“We started off a little sluggish. This was our fourth game in seven days and we had a long practice yesterday. I gave them a little pep talk and told them they had to play with their heart if they were tired, because this could be their last game, and that’s what they did in the last two sets,” she explained.
Coach Davidson said she was really pleased with the serve/receive game.
“Morgan Herring was like a gun on her serves today. I think she had 10 aces,” the coach said with a smile, adding, “I’m really proud of the way these girls played, and now we live to play another day.”
Lakewood’s second round game will be on Tuesday at 6 p.m. They will go up against the winner of the Trask-S. Robeson match up. If Trask wins, the Leopards will play at home. If South Robeson wins, then the Leopards must travel to Robeson County.