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Winning own tournament getting to be a habit for Lady Knights

Posted: September 24, 2013 2:24 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2013 1:00 a.m.

THE NORTH CENTRAL VOLLEYBALL team and coaches are all smiles after having won Saturday’s eighth annual Carolina Challenge in Boonetown. Pictured kneeling along the front row, from left, are Jo Phillips, Ambi Wood, Logan Coates and Destinee Logan. The back row is made up of Ashley Turner, head coach Andy Johnson, Khila Wood, Summer Catoe, Erin Humphries, Alexa Williamson, Rachel Robinson, Madeline Pate and assistant coach Nicole Gainey.

Posing for a team photo after winning their own tournament is becoming routine for the North Central volleyball team.
On Saturday, the Lady Knights swept past rival Andrew Jackson, in two sets, to win the Carolina Challenge in Boonetown for the third straight season.
Andy Johnson’s charges went 3-0 in pool play in the 12-team tournament, starting with a pair of 25-12 wins over Indian Land in the morning pairing. Next came a 25-23, 25-23 victory over Westminister-Catawba, before NC closed pool play by splitting a pair with AAA entry Gilbert, a perennial state volleyball power, 17-25 and 25-22.
NC moved on to the gold bracket and faced Johnsonville in the quarterfinals. The Lady Knights breezed to a 25-15 victory in the first set only to find themselves trailing, 21-13, in the second of the best-of-three match. The hostesses rallied back and used an 11-3 run to knot things at 24 before going on for the 28-26 win.
Facing a Buford squad which knocked off Wilson Hall in a quarterfinal pairing, NC punched its ticket into the finals with a 25-15, 25-20 victory over the Yellow Jackets to set up a meeting with Andrew Jackson.
The Lady Vols defeated Westminister-Catawba to advance to the finals. It was the host team, though, which made sure the Carolina Challenge title stayed in Boonetown with a 25-19, 25-20 sweep.
The win was North Central’s second of the season over its neighbors from Kershaw.
Johnson said his team battled all day long to earn the championship trophy.
“We played really well throughout the day,” he said. “We had some times where we had a few unforced errors and that hurt us. I was proud of the effort and teamwork that we displayed all day. I hope that we can take this in to our matches into the coming week.”

NC opens region play with win: The Lady Knights opened defense of their Region 3-AA championship by taking all three sets from visiting Keenan in a best-of-five match played last Thursday night in Columbia.
NC rolled in taking the opener, 25-9, before scoring 27-17, 31-29 victories in the second and third sets to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Logan Coates dished out a season-best 24 assists to go along with six digs and five aces for the Lady Knights while Madeline Pate had 16 digs and nine kills. Erin Humphries added 13 digs, eight kills and an assist with Ambi Wood having another strong night on the front row with 10 kills and three digs. Rachel Robinson contributed 16 digs and an ace for the winners.
Johnson said he was pleased with his team’s being able to open conference play on a positive note.
“We were excited to start region play off with a win and hope to work to improve on our mistakes,” he said.
NC will head to Eau Claire on Thursday for its third Region 3-AA match of the season.


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