LAURINBURG — The Southeastern Conference announced its volleyball all-conference team this week, and three Scotland players were named to the squad.
Senior Kaitlin Lewis, junior Emma Gray Beacham and sophomore Nahir Pegues garnered all-SEC accolades for the second consecutive season. Last year, the trio earned all-conference honors along with the now-graduated Ashleigh Bailey.
Lewis, a middle hitter who led the team in kills (222) and was second in digs (232), was one of two seniors to see the floor for the Scots this season. The other was setter Kenleigh Callahan.
“Kaitlin is somebody who had moments where she was just on fire,” said Scotland coach Molly Hayes. “She gave maximum effort to dig every ball, she didn’t want a ball to hit her court, and that kind of showed in the number of touches and passes and digs that she had.”
Beacham, who was Scotland’s setter for most of the year before switching to libero late in the season, dished out the most assists (391) and was third in digs (220). She paced the team with 208 serving points and 41 aces.
“Emma Gray is a very level-headed player. She comes in ready to compete every practice and every game,” Hayes said. “She doesn’t let her emotions get too tied up, she doesn’t have bad days on the court, and is a competitor every day.”
Pegues was one of the Scots’ best athletes as a middle hitter, racking up the most solo blocks of anyone on the team (23) while improving as an all-around player throughout the course of the season.
“She doesn’t play in the back row so she receives less sets, but she was actually our most effective hitter on the team,” Hayes said.
Scotland finished 13-10 overall and 7-3 in the SEC this season, which tied it with Richmond Senior for second place in the conference standings. The Scots earned a No. 21 seed in the North Carolina High School Association 4A playoffs where they were defeated in three games by No. 12 Mallard Creek in Charlotte Saturday.
SEC regular season and tournament champion Pinecrest led all schools with five all-conference selections. Setter Danika Whitford was named the SEC’s Player of the Year, and head coach Barbara Foxx was awarded Coach of the Year. Foxx won her 700th career game in September in a match against Scotland and currently sits at 712 victories.
Libero Erica Groff, setter Miriam Pages, middle blocker/outside hitter Veronica Stringfield and defensive specialist Abbey Wallace also earned all-SEC honors.
The Patriots finished 18-9 and 10-0 in the SEC, advancing to the second round of the state playoffs as a No. 9 seed. Pinecrest was eliminated by Watauga Tuesday.
Middle hitter Madelyn Chappell, libero Doodle Jacobs and outside hitter Hailey Mason were Richmond’s all-SEC selections. The Raiders ended the year with a 12-12 record and advanced to SEC tournament championship game. Richmond was rewarded for its strong end-of-season performance with a No. 16 seed in the playoffs and the opportunity to host its first home postseason game since 2009. The Raiders were swept by Reagan Tuesday in the second round.
Hoke, which was 9-13 overall and 3-7 in the conferenc had two players named all-SEC — middle hitter Leanna Jacobs and outside hitter Mikayla King.
Lumberton setter Kortnee Floyd and outside hitter Mariah Locklear represented the Pirates. Lumberton finished 5-18 and 3-7 in the conference.
Purnell Swett’s lone all-SEC representative was Paige Sweeney. The Rams were 1-19 and 0-10 against conference foes.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.