CEDAR BLUFF, Va. – The first-ever National Junior College Athletic Association volleyball home match at Southwest Virginia Community College was a huge success.
The Flying Eagles were able to keep a scrappy Central Carolina Community College at bay for a 25-7, 25-14, 25-21 sweep on Saturday.
“We all came in pretty pumped, since it was our first home match of the season,” said SWCC hitter Abby Vicars, a former standout at Rye Cove High School. “We had prepared for it, we really brought the energy today. It feels really good to win this home game.”
In their initial year, the Flying Eagles have quickly developed camaraderie as they function well as a team.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these girls,” SWCC coach Alexis Carson said. “We’ve played some really tough teams. We’ve played the number-five ranked team in NJCAA and another top-ranked team, those games really helped us, playing against some big girls. We’ve gotten better each time out.”
The Flying Eagles defense was outstanding. It was hard for the Cougars to get anything down as libero Jenna Wade (Union) was all over the floor. Wade led the defense with 17 digs and added 11 service points with five aces. Kayla Bollinger (Lebanon) contributed 15 assists with 10 service points and two aces.
“This is just unreal,” Wade said. “We expected this to be a building year, we wanted to have fun and enjoy it. Really we’ve grown a lot from the beginning of the season and that’s made it a lot of fun.”
Wade’s stellar play has been a key for SWCC (4-9, 3-1).
“Jenna is one of the best at reading defensive players that I’ve ever been able to work with,” Carson said. “She reads the ball so well, she’s able to get a hand to it and get it up. She reads the free balls well and is able to get them to our setter.”
Vicars led a balanced attack up front for the Eagles with eight kills and was also strong on the back row with 14 digs against the Cougars. Lauren Perkins (Honaker) was also a factor with six kills and two blocks. Lauren Clark (Woodward, Oklahoma) was also solid at the net, working her way back from an injury.
“Vicars is a playmaker on offense and on defense,” Carson said. “When she’s on the front row, she commands the ball, she can put it down. Perkins is really coming along, this was probably her best match. This was Clark’s first game back from a shoulder injury, I got to work her in some to see what she could do. We didn’t play as consistent as I like to see us play, but we got the job done.”
In their second match of the day, Cleveland State Community College from Tennessee took a 23-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-12 win over SWCC. Bollinger directed the offense in the loss with 25 assists. Vicars (eight kills, nine digs) and Paige Flint (LeHigh Acres, Florida) added seven kills and 17 digs. Madi Viers (Honaker) chipped in with six kills and Wade 31 digs.
The Flying Eagles will be home again on Thursday, hosting Davidson County Community College at 7 p.m.