Prep Volleyball: Salisbury Senior Night
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Salisbury coach Matt Armstrong got Alayjiah Dumas back on the court for the final points and all four Hornet seniors got to finish off a Senior Night win over North Rowan.
All the seniors played a major role in a 25-11, 21-25, 25-7 and 25-14 win over the Cavaliers, who fell to Salisbury for the third time this season and for the second time in three days. Dumas got on a serious run at the service line in the fourth set, taking the Salisbury lead from 8-6 to 14-6 to doom the Cavaliers. Lund made the dig of the day, getting down to stop a kill attempt that was absolutely drilled by North’s Danajah Hines. McCullough had three aces in the fourth set. Twitty, Salisbury’s setter, got hot in the third set, serving 12 straight points and collecting six aces in a hurry.
“I’ve been with these girls a long time and this was one of the last matches we’ll ever play together,” Twitty said. “So emotional. By the time we started playing, I was almost in tears.”
Lila Harry, a junior who does many good things for the Hornets (8-12), carried a lot of the load while her older teammates were settling down. Harry had 11 kills, five aces and three blocks and a lot of digs.
“I wanted to win badly for our seniors,” Harry said. “We played them in some sports where they don’t often play tonight, but we did everything we could to help them succeed.”
Twitty had 13 assists. McCullough had five kills and four aces. Freshman libero Ellen Yang makes very few mistakes and was helpful serving, receiving serve and digging.
Hines had nine kills and three blocks to lead the Cavaliers.
Harry started the first set with back-to-back aces. North fought back to 5-all, but then McCullough served four straight points, and the Hornets never looked back.
North’s win in the second set was a shock. North (0-21) not only hasn’t won a match this season it hadn’t won a set since it managed to take one against Albemarle on Sept. 13. North was hanging on to an 11-10 lead when 5-foot-2 Emily Hartsell served four straight aces to give the Cavaliers momentum. With the score 21-all, Salisbury missed a serve. North went up 23-21 when Hines soared to block McCullough, and an off-balance kill by Hines made it 24-21 Cavaliers. When Jaylan Reid, North’s tallest player at 5-foot-8, served an ace, the Cavaliers owned the set.
“They were just going crazy,” Salisbury coach Matt Armstrong said. “It gave me some idea how strong this rivalry is. North played well, but we were just really sloppy in that set. We missed 13 serves.”
Harry serves first for the Hornets, and she restored order as soon as the third set got under way. She began the set with two aces, and the Hornets were cruising 9-3 after a few minutes. Then Twitty stepped to the service line, and it was 21-3 before the Cavaliers could stop her.
“We had a bad set, but we brought it right back up, got the adrenaline going,” Twitty said.
Added Harry, “That was the best set we’ve played all year.”
Twitty and Harry connected smoothly in the fourth set, with all the Hornets making solid passes to Twitty, and Twitty setting for Harry on the right side. Harry had five sharply angled kills in the set, two that skipped horizontally across the net before finding the floor, and Carsyn Parrott helped out with two more. Lund and McCullough added one each.
“After we played a set that was so bad I wanted to laugh, we finished with two really good ones,” Armstrong said. “If we play like that, we’ll do OK against a lot of teams.”
All Senior Nights are special, but families, friends and administrators went the extra mile for this one. There were red, gold and black balloons and cupcakes and lifetime memories for four college-bound seniors.