High school volleyball: West sweeps South

Published 7:55 am Tuesday, September 26, 2023

By Mike London

LANDIS — West Rowan’s volleyball team couldn’t have started much worse, but it couldn’t have finished much better.

West swept South on the road on Monday 25-23, 25-21 and 25-18. The Falcons avenged a loss to the Raiders early in the season.

Skyy Ruben, a strong middle blocker who missed the first meeting with the Raiders, was a factor in West getting even.

Both teams are contenders in the South Piedmont Conference race, although it’s going to be hard for anyone to stop league-leading Lake Norman Charter, which already has split with South and swept West.

West (11-6, 8-3) started so sluggishly in the South gym that the Raiders (14-5, 10-2) didn’t appear to be in much danger early.

West was down 7-2 before coach Jan Dowling used her first timeout. That chat didn’t get immediate results. The Falcons fell behind by as many as six points, and South was still comfortably ahead 15-10 after a Leah Rymer kill.

But libero Brinley Batts perked up the Falcons’ energy level with some outrageous digs, and the Falcons suddenly remembered they had Emma Clarke. Clarke began smashing kills, and the Raiders, like everyone else, didn’t have much of an answer for her. Clarke pounded five straight kills at one point, as the Falcons made a run.

Lainey Sweet had a kill to get West within 21-20. South used a timeout.

West finally caught up for the first time at 21-all. Clarke had the kill that broke a 23-all tie. Match point came on a South error. Rymer, a lefty who was on the right side, had a lot of cross-court space to work with, but her hit sailed just wide of the boundary.

Two quick kills by Rymer gave South a 4-0 lead in the second set, but back-to-back kills by Clarke got the Falcons rolling again.

Ruben got the kill as the Falcons caught up at 8-all and she also had the powerful block that put the Falcons ahead 14-13.

With West leading 17-16, Clarke, Ruben and Lydia Wilson had kills for 20-16.

Meredith Faw’s kill got South back within 22-21, but Sweet had another clutch kill for a two-point lead for the Falcons.

Clarke and Sophia Blackledge teamed up for a backbreaking block for 24-21 before Clarke ended the set with another kill.

There was no drama in the third set. West led 4-0 right away. South coach Jenna Horne used her timeouts down 4-0 and down 13-6, but the Falcons weren’t going to be stopped.

A kill by Wilson put West up by 10 at 17-7 and it was 20-11 after another combo block by Clarke and Blackledge.

South made a little run at the end to make it closer.

Rymer had eight digs and eight kills for the Raiders. Faw had five kills and 13 digs. Avery Fisher had 10 digs. Laney Beaver had 19 digs and nine assists.

Clarke was also good when she was on the back row and had 17 digs to go with 19 kills. Wilson had nine kills. Ruben had four solo blocks.

Batts had 17 digs. Ava Gusler had 10 digs. Neely Hiatt was the setter who got the ball to Clarke and Wilson in places where they could do damage.


South has another tough match on Wednesday against a young Carson team (10-7, 8-3) that has been moving up in the SPC standings. Carson beat East Rowan 3-1 in a Volley For the Cure match on Monday. A story on that match will be in the Post later this week.


Another big match on Wednesday will be West Davidson at Salisbury. Those are the top two teams in the Central Carolina Conference.


South’s strong jayvee team is 15-1 and beat West Rowan 25-17 and 26-24 on Monday.

Cailynn Withers had 17 digs for the Raiders. Danica Krieg had nine digs and seven kills. Raegan Shell had 12 digs and eight assists. Meghan Eagle had eight assists and seven digs. Clancy Street had seven kills.