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CREEDMOOR — The Lady Firebirds, ranked second in the 1A East bracket of the state playoffs, held off the No. 3 Princeton Lady Bulldogs in a 3-0 win Saturday.
Head coach Corrinna Sammons said she was thrilled with the win but knew it was not the best match that they had played during the playoffs.
“We played well enough to win, but still not as sharp as I would like us to be,” Sammons said.
The teams traded points early, but Chase Teal and Macey Sammons blasted balls through the back row of the Lady Bulldogs for a 7-3 lead. Macey Sammons had several great serves to run the lead to 11-5.
Falls Lake continued to work with kills by Morgan Newton and Jenelle Mason. Hannah Collier dropped a serve in for an 18-10 lead. With Austin Proctor serving, Teal slammed home a kill and then Proctor served an ace to extend the lead to 22-12.
Princeton make a bit of a run with Alaina Johnson and Sara Daughtry blocking a ball for a point. Teal answered with a slicing kill but Johnson responded with an ace for Princeton.
Macey Sammons and Collier ended the set with kills as Falls Lake claimed the set 25-19.
The Lady Firebirds started out with a flurry of kills and blocks from Teal, Mason, Newton and Macey Sammons. The lead swelled to 8-2.
Le’Onna Nelson had back-to-back kills to slow down the Lady Firebirds. The Lady Bulldogs rallied to trim the lead to 11-8 with a kill by Reanna Braswell. Falls Lake called a rare timeout as the momentum moved to the Lady Bulldogs side of the net.
The teams traded point but the Lady Bulldogs kept nipping at Falls Lake’s heels as Princeton narrowed the margin to 15-12 with a kill by Caroline Norris.
Macey Sammons and Teal finally answered with back-to-back kills and forced Princeton into a timeout.
The set stayed tight until Teal was able to serve an ace for a 20-18 lead. Once again, Falls Lake took a rare timeout with Princeton putting the pressure on the Firebirds with strong play at the net.
Collier got the Lady Firebirds back on track with a kill to move the lead to 22-19. After trading points, Teal was finally able to close the set with a kill to claim the set, 25-22.
Falls Lake seemed a little more intense at the start of the third set with Teal and Newton scoring to run the lead to 6-2. Princeton rallied back to trim the lead 6-5. Collier stepped up and helped lead the Lady Firebirds to an 11-5 advantage.
Falls Lake continued to work, getting points from Proctor on a tip and several unforced errors by the Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Firebirds began to relax a bit and play their game with Mason dropping in a kill and Macey Sammons blocking a shot. Teal closed the set with an ace and the Lady Firebirds won the third set 25-15.
“We knew they would be a tough team. They are scrappy and a lot like us. It came down to being able to handle the serve receive,” Sammons said.
With the win, the Lady Firebirds earned a berth in the 1A East Region finals against Pamlico County. The game was played Tuesday night, and results will be reported in next Friday’s Butner-Creedmoor News.
The Hurricanes came into the match with a 20-4 overall record. Pamlico County, the No. 4 seed in the region, defeated Perquimans 3-0 to advance to the finals. Falls Lake had a 25-3 record coming into the match and are the defending 1A champions.
Statistics: Chase Teal (12 kills, three aces, eight digs, one assist and nine serve receives), Austin Proctor (three kills, two aces, seven digs and 38 assists), Hannah Collier (six kills, one ace, 17 digs and 11 serve receives), Macey Sammons (10 kills, three aces, six blocks, 25 digs and 14 serve receives), Morgan Newton (seven kills, three digs and four serve receives), Halie Carroll (three digs and two assists), Jenelle Mason (four kills, one dig and one serve receive) and Gracey Sammons (14 digs, one assist and 14 serve receives).