For Scotland head volleyball coach Rick Barnes, their rematch with the South View Tigers is exactly why the Fighting Scots can’t take opponents lightly.
After outscoring the Tigers by a count of 75-25 in their regular season debut, the Fighting Scots hosted South View Tuesday night. And while they again pulled out the victory to move to 4-0 on the young season, the Tigers proved much more difficult to put away the second time around, particularly in game two.
The Scots beat South View in consecutive sets 25-11, 25-20 and 25-13.
“We came on strong in the third game, but I wasn’t totally satisfied with our performance tonight,” Barnes said. “Opponents like South View give us opportunities to become a better team, not stay at the same skill level, and I think we had the first victory against them in our heads when we played them again tonight.”
In the first game, it appeared that the Fighting Scots would handle South View with ease as they did in their season opener. With Avery Callahan and Brianna Harris setting her up, Libby Ingram helped Scotland vault to a 15-3 start in game one, notching six kills during that stretch. Callahan and Harris would finish the match with nine and 18 assists, respectively.
Caroline Pridgen was her typically dominant self as well, ending the first game emphatically with a spike kill that put South View away in short order.
Game two would be a different story.
“We didn’t pass or communicate well, and we committed several hitting errors,” Barnes said. “South View has some great athletes as well, and they made their presence felt in the second game.”
The Tigers trio of Miah Nash, Taylor Powell and Iyona Hopkins stood tall at the net for South View in the second game, frustrating Scotland with several deflections of attempted kills. After South View jumped out early to a 9-5 lead, the game would become a back-and-forth affair as the Scots battled back from the deficit. It would be Pridgen again who proved to be the deciding factor in the second game as she caught fire down the stretch, finding holes in the Tiger defense for her powerful kills to help Scotland close game two on a 5-0 run.
Pridgen finished the match with 20 combined kills out of an attempted 29.
South View would continue pressing the Scots in the early moments of the third game, but a strong start by Harris provided the spark which would help Scotland rediscover their game one form. Harris assisted or scored in the majority of Scotland’s points at the beginning of game three, including pitch-perfect sets to Ingram and Pridgen. Greta Griswold also shined in the third game, recording both of her aces en route to an overall performance that saw her notch 10 service points, six digs and 21 on-target passes out of 22 attempted. A two-handed dump over the net from Callahan ended the third and deciding game against South View, a game that Scotland dominated as they did in the two teams’ prior meeting just over a week ago.
“I tell these girls before every game to simply play ‘Scotland volleyball,’ which is all about making the most of opportunities and playing as a team,” Barnes said. “There are other teams that are much more athletic than us out there, so it’s important that we stay hungry no matter who we face each game.”
Scotland begins a three-game road trip Wednesday beginning at Whiteville.
The JV Fighting Scots were also in action earlier in the evening as they edged out South View in a 25-23, 25-18, 25-15 nail-biter.
After splitting their first two games with the Tigers, the JV Scots found themselves in a game three battle that saw multiple lead changes until a pivotal point late in the contest. After going up 19-15 over South View, an extended volley began between the two teams which saw Scotland’s Tessa Supplee make a crucial diving dig, which Hailey Clark capitalized upon via a two-handed kill to give the JV Scots a five point lead over the Tigers. It would be the first of six unanswered Scotland points that clenched the game and match for the JV Scots.
Ashleigh Bailey led her teammates with six kills and two digs in the contest, while Supplee finished her night with six service aces and eight assists.