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Fields’ defense sparks SR

LANDIS — South Rowan had several chances to let Monday’s South Piedmont Conference volleyball match with Hickory Ridge slip away, but the Raiders didn’t blink.
The result was a wild 27-29, 25-19, 26-24 and 27-25 victory that kept South Rowan (4-4, 3-3) in decent position in the middle of the league standings.
Libero Abbi Fields keyed the Raiders’ win with 24 digs. The Raiders aren’t tall and don’t do much blocking, so they have to dig. Fields did.
“That was a nerve-wracking game,” Field said. “Close and nerve-wracking all day.”
South Rowan jumped out 10-3 in the fourth set, eager to close things out, but the taller Ragin’ Bulls (5-5, 3-3) didn’t go quietly and started pounding kills.
South Rowan’s lead dwindled to 16-12, and then 17-14, and then 17-16, before 5-foot-6 Avery Locklear went high for a solo block for the Raiders.
“They really did have a lot of momentum, but we were able to stop it,” Locklear said.
Two clutch kills by Caroline Hubbard pushed the Raiders ahead 22-18, but Hickory Ridge rallied again.
With South Rowan leading 24-23, Hickory Ridge coach Patti Chason called timeout, and then the Bulls staved off match point.
Down 25-24, the Raiders took the last three points, including an ace by Kylie Labbe. Then they celebrated.
“We fought for it,” Fields said. “We never lost confidence and we held it together even when it didn’t look very good.”
Locklear had 11 kills. Dakotah Lambert had eight, while Hubbard and Labbe contributed seven each.
Labbe had 27 assists and five aces. Kayla McLendon had four aces.
South has a non-conference game at Mount Pleasant Wednesday and plays at East Rowan Thursday.

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