Pickens volleyball turns up the defense against Eagles

Lady Flame

Lady Flame

PICKENS — “It’s all about defense for us,” Pickens volleyball coach Jennifer Gravely said. “Serve receive, ball control and a relentless pursuit of the ball.”

Gravely’s Lady Flame definitely showcased those qualities last Thursday at Eastside High. The team posted an impressive 121 digs in four games, adding 24 blocks.

Pickens won the first game 25-15 before tightening up in the second. Despite tying the game at 23, the Flame coughed up the next two points to lose 25-23. In the third game, Eastside jumped out to a large lead before Pickens went on a run to pull ahead. The visiting team managed to secure a 25-20 victory. The home crowd grew rowdy at the start of the fourth, but the Lady Flame quickly extinguished the fans’ enthusiasm, taking the game 25-15.

The rivalry has existed for more a decade, with the two teams going head to head, often with championships on the line.

“Even though this is only the second region game, a win here tonight at their place sets the tone for a highly competitive season,” Gravely said. “We have a long way to go to meet our goal. But we’ll keep working hard and hopefully improving as a team.”

The JV team also posted a big win, the second game a nailbiter at 30-28. Both teams face Berea and Greenville this week before varsity heads over to Dorman on the weekend for the always-challenging Tournament of Champions.

Stats for the

Eastside match:

Faith Dickard 3 blocks, 5 kills, 1 dig; Haley Holcombe 6 blocks, 1 kill, 18 assists, 9 digs; Michaela Leslie 3 blocks, 3 aces, 11 kills, 31 digs; Laiken Porterfield 9 kills, 25 digs; Brianna O’Shields 7 blocks, 1 ace, 11 kills; Brooke Stewart 5 blocks, 12 kills, 1 assist, 2 digs; Rachel Kellett 1 ace, 27 assists, 11 digs; Melodie Broom 2 aces, 2 kills, 1 assist, 42 digs