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The mission of the 2019 Hunt High varsity volleyball team of fourth-year head coach Tiffany Rowe is to dethrone Franklinton as the 3-A Big East Conference queen.
The Lady Warriors, second each of the last two seasons, emphatically stated their intent by serving into conference play with an overwhelming 25-7, 25-13, 25-6 conquest of visiting Northern Nash in no more than an hour Tuesday evening.
Hunt, in Rowe’s opinion, is starting to realize dividends from nonconference losses to such formidable foes as D.H. Conley, Corinth-Holders and Charles B. Aycock.
“I am happy for the girls,” Rowe expressed. “We played some tough (nonconference) teams and that prepared us for the team we are now. We are excited to see what we can do in the conference.”
In the Big East opener for both teams, Hunt vaulted to 5-5 with its fourth consecutive win, while the Lady Knights of second-year head coach Stephanie Summerlin dipped to 1-7.
The Lady Warriors served efficiently from the start and never relented. They had only a couple of service errors and senior Brianna Moore and junior Kinslee Braddy led a parade of servers that hammered several aces each set.
Moore notched five aces and Braddy served for a trio in the second set.
“I saw that they were struggling with serve-receive and were moving back,” Braddy noted. “I adjusted my serve depending upon how they were setting up on serve-receive.”
About the only resistance Northern Nash, without a presence at the net, could offer was a few well-placed hits by sophomore Maegan Phillips. The Lady Knights roster listed four seniors, but Summerlin reported she played several sophomores and juniors.
Hunt opened the second set with an ace from Moore. Then came three from Braddy, another one from Moore and one from freshman Alex Williams. Senior Meghan Martinez supplied the kills, including a laser that ended the second set. From a 3-2 edge, the Lady Warriors pulled away to a 13-2 margin with Braddy serving.
The third set was more of the same as Hunt forged a 7-1 cushion.
Northern Nash’s Summerlin played her high school volleyball at Fike from 2006-09, and she remembers her career encounters with Hunt.
“You know when you play Hunt,” she contended, “it’s going to be a good team. They are going to be competitive.
“Some days are better than others. Today, they had us. For a while, we were neck-and-neck, but we lost it. We play them again and we know what to do to improve.”
Rowe described the Lady Knights as improved from last season, adding: “We did OK; it’s been a while since we’ve had practice. We served tough; that continues to be a strength for Hunt volleyball. We were attacking pretty good. It’s always good to start out with a good win. We want conference this year; that’s our goal.”
Braddy amassed 11 service points, while Moore served for 10 points and registered 21 assists. Williams led with seven kills, followed by Martinez with six and senior Greysen Evans with five. Hunt attacked for 30 kills.
But the serving stood out.
“I think we are a really strong serving team and that really helps us,” Braddy commented.
“You never really expect a game to be easy, ever. But I think we are a tough enough team to win the conference.”
Up next for the Lady Warriors is a conference test at home against Rocky Mount on Thursday at approximately 5:15 p.m.