During the varsity volleyball team’s third match of the season, the Knights celebrated senior captains Elliot Mathis and Hannah Pace. This is Mathis’s second year and Pace’s third on the varsity squad, and they share four state-championship rings. Both have stepped up this season as leaders for a very young squad.
With 15 players—10 of whom are first-year varsity players—on the roster, the Knights continue to experiment with different lineups. Players are learning the squad’s offensive and defensive systems as well as serve-receive patterns.
Forsyth Central gave the Knights the opportunity to use four different lineups. Highlights included freshman Dhru Lalaji playing stellar defense with timely service runs; freshman Caitlyn Rocker showing consistency on the right-side attack; and sophomore middle blocker Briea Craft and freshman setter Grace Agolli connecting late in the match. In addition, junior middle blocker Julia Holmes has begun to establish herself as a formidable blocker in the frontcourt; freshman outside attacker Ellie Siskin is quickly becoming a consistent attacker and blocker on both the left- and right-side offense; freshman Adrienne Durr added offense on both the right and left side; and freshman Gadit Bejar showed athleticism in the middle.
The Knights’ returning players added much-needed experience to the lineup. Pace played all six rotations, making some timely digs defensively. She has established herself as one of the team’s more diverse servers, mixing short and deep serves to keep opponents off balance. Mathis had several key blocks when needed; junior co-captain Megan Hardesty brought a solid attack on the left side; junior Morgan Neill played solid defense all night as libero; and junior Taylor Knowlton showed much-needed experience on the backcourt. Knowlton made timely digs defensively as well as some service runs.
Overall, the match did not go the Knights’ way. The team lost in four sets, 25-20, 26-24, 25-19, 25-22. With so much youth and the many lineup changes, the coaches were pleased with the team’s competitiveness and will continue to make refinements as the season progresses. The next home match is Thursday, Sept. 3, versus Hebron Christian at 6:15 p.m.