Watauga sweeps past Freedom

Watauga’s Carolyn Murray hits the ball over Freedom’s Mia Harper as Watauga’s Ava Williamson (2), Katie Willingham (4), Kenzie Baldwin (12) and Chloe Baldwin (3) prepare to defend the block.

BOONE — The Watauga volleyball team beat visiting Freedom 25-8, 25-14 and 25-13 at Lentz-Eggers Gym on Sept. 9.

The Pioneers (9-0, 3-0 Northwestern Conference) had little trouble with Freedom (2-3, 1-1) in the first set by taking a 12-2 advantage and never looked back. Freedom fell behind 6-3 in the second set, but rallied to tie the set 7-7.

Watauga regrouped and went back in front 22-12 before winning the set.

“We still have to work on playing our game all the way through and not having the fluctuation and the ups and downs of the roller coaster we ride,” Watauga coach Kris Hagaman said.

“We changed things up a bit and put a few new girls in,” senior libero Chloe Baldwin said. “We all have equal skill levels, so it was just a mindset. We kind of let off and we have to realize we have to pick it back up and play to our level.”

The Pioneers did that by taking a 14-7 lead in the third set and never letting the Patriots get any closer. Watauga led 22-13 when a Rebekah Farthing kill put the Mountaineers close to match point.

Watauga scored match point on a Freedom hitting error.

“I told them between sets that they need to play with the same intensity during this match that they practice,” Hagaman said. “In our practices, they get after it.”

Farthing, who was named the MaxPreps.com Player of the Week for week four, led the Pioneers in scoring with 11 kills. Brooke Byrd had seven kills, while Tegan Allan had five. Katie Willingham and Brook Scheffler each had three kills, while Baldwin had six serves aces and six digs.

Watauga setter Brelyn Sturgill handed out 23 assists and Ava Williamson had nine assists and a service ace.

The Pioneers extended their NWC winning streak, which goes back to 2017, to 46 matches. Watauga has also won 39 straight regular-season matches, which also goes back to 2017.

Baldwin said the Pioneers don’t really worry about maintaining the streaks as much as just continuing to play well.

“We’re just playing game-by-game,” Baldwin said. “If we lose a set, put it behind you and learn from it. It will help you in the long run.”

Watauga plays at South Iredell on Sept. 12.

Watauga girls’ tennis

BOONE — The Watauga girls’ tennis team swept past visiting Avery 9-0 at Watauga’s courts Sept. 9.

Watauga’s Madison Ogden blanked Lily Markland 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles, while Jillian Russert beat Avery’s Kennedy Bindlechner 6-0, 6-0. The Pioneers’ Amira Younce beat Cassie Bailey 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1 singles and Watauga’s Alaina Muse beat Emma Kitchin 6-0, 6-2.

At No. 5 singles, Watauga’s Magali Turner beat Emma Bentley 6-0, 6-2 and Watauga’s Mattie Suggs beat Hannah Ruth Crosby 6-0, 6-2 at No. 6 doubles.

Watauga (3-0) also swept the doubles matches. After falling behind 3-0, Watauga’s Ellary Maiden and Laurel West won the next eight games to take an 8-3 win at No. 1 doubles. Watauga’s No. 2-doubles team of Browning Proctor and Serena Jewel Miller won 8-2 and the Pioneers’ No. 3-doubles team of Carolina Davidson and Madeline Hayes captured an 8-0 victory.

Watauga plays its first Northwestern Conference match at Alexander Central on Nov. 11.

“Being 3-0 going into conference play this week gives us great confidence,” Watauga coach Jennifer Pillow said. “I am looking forward to see what these talented athletes can do this season.”

Watauga 9, Avery 0

Singles

Amira Younce (W) d. Cassie Bailey, 6-0, 6-1

Alaina Muse (W) d. Emma Kitchin, 6-0, 6-2

Madison Ogden (W) d. Lily Markland, 6-0, 6-0

Jillian Russert (W) d. Kennedy Bindlechner, 6-0, 6-0

Magali Turner (W) d. Emma Bentley, 6-0, 6-2

Mattie Suggs (W) d. Hannah Ruth Crosby, 6-0, 6-2

Doubles

Ellary Maiden/Laurel West (W) won 8-3

Brownning Proctor/Serena Jewel Miller (W) won 8-2

Carolina Davidson and Madeline Hayes (w) won 8-0

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