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by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKE FOREST — Heritage High School continued its recent run of success on the volleyball court, sweeping crosstown rival and Cap 8 conference opponent Wake Forest Thursday.
The Huskies trailed early in the first and second games, but were able to rebound and win each set by scores of 25-20, 25-14 and 25-12.
“I was pleased overall with the way we played,” said Heritage coach Branden Green. “Wake Forest played a competitive match and Jenna does a great job coaching them.”
Anytime these two teams face each other, both coaches expect a competitive match, Green said. “We wanted to do what we had to do to win and give it our best and hope that would be enough,” he said.
Wake Forest coach Jenna Hinton called Heritage a much-improved team.
“Coach Green is really doing a good job with them,” she said. “I thought they had great ball control and I love their setters. Their players do a good job with their roles.”
Hannah Midles led Heritage with 11 kills on 31 attacks. Sydney Hinds recorded 17 digs while teammate Ellie Lupton posted a double-double with 26 assists and 12 digs.
The Huskies, 8-5, 2-4, also got effective serving from Natalie Ferrell, Isis Amon and Holly Kennedy.
“Many of our players are now coming along,” Green said. “We have been pretty competitive the first half of the season and we’d like to get some more wins during the second half.”
In the first set, the Huskies held a narrow lead at the beginning and following a 5-5 tie, responded by outscoring the Cougars 10-2.
Wake Forest, 2-7, 0-6, rallied back and a block by Jazmine Langley, with a point by Kylie Grandy, pulled the Cougars to 21-19.
But Heritage took the next two points and eventually the win in set one.
It looked like Wake Forest would even things up in the second set, jumping out to 3-0 and 4-1 leads.
The Huskies had other plans, however, going on a 6-0 run of its own to take a 7-4 lead which they never relinquished.
Heritage extended that advantage to 21-10 at one point, thanks to solid serving by Ferrell and back-to-back kills by Tori Holmberg.
Heritage continued its dominance in the third set, especially on defense. The Huskies limited Wake Forest’s opportunities to score and kept the momentum in their favor to complete the sweep.
Green said he was happy to see his team start early and finish games.
“We were not doing that earlier in the season,” he said. “However, now we are learning to take the early lead and hopefully we will continue to grow in the second half of the season.”
Hinton said her team is focused on improvement for the remainder of the season.
“We want to improve as a team and as individuals,” she said. “There is something we need to work on after every match.”
“The kids are coachable and they are trying to come together as a team,” Hinton added.”
Hinton credited the play of middles Devan Woodward and Rachel Walker.
“They did a great job,” she said. “They were able to put the ball away quickly at times.”
The Cougars will play at Sanderson tonight (Thursday) and Heritage will play at Wakefield. Both matches are at 5:30 p.m.