Published 12:00 am Friday, September 13, 2013

CHINA GROVE — The battle for supremacy in South Piedmont Conference volleyball last night turned out to be more of a clinic. The unbeaten Carson Cougars had little trouble staying that way as they toppled their closest league rival Hickory Ridge 3-0.
Led by a strong front line of Michaela White, Madison Weast and Hannah Elmore, Carson (7-0, 13-0) rolled up set wins of 25-12, 25-10 and 25-16. As a new member of the SPC, the Cougars handed Hickory Ridge (6-1, 10-2) their first conference loss in three years. No one was more impressed that veteran Raging Bull coach Patti Chason.
“We kind of knew that was what it was going to be like because they have a great group of seniors,” Chason said. “We respect them. They are a fine tuned team.”
The win capped a very successful week for Carson as they won league games over NW Cabarrus and Hickory Ridge sandwiched around a trip to unbeaten NW Guilford and a sweep of the top 4A team in the state.
But Weast, who led the team with 14 kills and several key blocks last night feels there is room for improvement.
“It definitely wasn’t our best game,” she said. “I think we could have played better. But we are definitely more consistent than we have been in the past.”
It was Weast that got Carson off to a strong start in the match with three quick spikes. White then followed with four more kills as the Cougars led 10-5 enroute to the 25-12 romp. Elmore took charge at the net with a series of devastating kills leading to a 25-10 second set win.
The third set was much more competitive as Hickory Ridge actually led twice at 9-7 and 11-10. Carson then ripped off 10 straight points to take command and close it out at 25-16.
White, the senior setter, who contributed assists, kills and a couple of aces in the match agreed that Carson controlled the net but gave credit to the back line.
“Our passing had a lot to do with it” White said. “Our passing sets everything else up. We play together well and we feel like a family most of all.”
Strong efforts were turned in by Morgan Hestert, Jordan Osborne, Elena Turnbull and the libero Laura Vaughn in the victory.
“It was a pretty impressive performance,” Coach Kelan Rogers said. “We are definitely playing right now and hopefully will continue to get better.”
For now the Cougars continue to look for a team that can truly challenge them.