Theoretically, a team’s non-region slate means little – only league games bear any sort of importance.
But North Myrtle Beach volleyball coach Alex Sing chooses to differ, believing every contest held a certain purpose. Even if it will not decide his team’s fate come playoff time, it can help the Chiefs build toward the games that do in Region VI-4A play.
“We had our share of nail-biters … we won a bunch of close ones and lost some, but I believe we became better because of it,” Sing said. “It was difficult, but we want to be peaking during region play.”
So far, so good.
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North Myrtle Beach never trailed Tuesday night in its region opener, downing St. James 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-18).
“We wanted them to have to play catch up,” Sing said. “We had been playing tough matches lately, so they were prepared. We brought our ‘A’ game and helped us bring home a win.”
In each of the match’s three games, the Sharks found themselves behind the 8-ball in short order.
North Myrtle Beach scored the first eight points of the match, before St. James answered with a run of its own to cut into the deficit. But as would become a recurring theme throughout, the Chiefs would have the last say.
“I really think we got a hold of ourselves, and then (North Myrtle Beach) got in our heads and we just couldn’t come back from it,” said St. James volleyball coach Lindsay Mayer.
Almost a carbon copy of its predecessor, North Myrtle Beach opened the second stanza with 12 consecutive points before St. James could get on the board. The Sharks would claw back into the set, however, pulling to within six at 21-15.
But at key moments, St. James’ inability to find the mark with its serves really hurt.
“I told my team, if you’re going to beat a team like this, you have to be able to serve,” Mayer said. “Those mistakes, those errors really got a hold of us.”
Even when St. James had success, though, there tended to be a pair of Chiefs’ paws around to deflect its returns. The most prominent of those was Sydnee Bellamy with a season-high 15 kills, along freshman Kaydee Runion who had six blocks and six kills.
The contribution of the North Myrtle Beach front line proved proved to be the difference in a competitive final set, allowing the home standing Chiefs to put a bow on their region opener.
“Kaydee Runion was good for us and (Bellamy) did well in the middle, she’s a good blocker,” Sing said. “And we have a couple of solid right sides in Maddie Roy and Kayla Henley that do a good job over there. So it really is a perk to have them at the net for us.”