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Sturgill gets win in head coaching debut with Lady Warriors

Kevin Mays, [email protected] • Aug 21, 2018 at 12:40 AM

CLINCHPORT — Jessica Sturgill did not have to wait long for her first win as a head coach. But she did have to work for it.

After losing the first set of their season opener, Sturgill’s Wise Central Lady Warriors bounced back to win the next three for a 3-1 win over the Rye Cove Lady Eagles on Monday in nondistrict volleyball action at Rye Cove.

Sturgill took over the varsity program this year following the resignation of Angie Duncan.

All four games were close throughout before Central finally took the 20-25, 25-23, 25-23, 29-27 win.

Opening the season by beating the defending Cumberland District champions, with their rich history in volleyball, was exactly the way Sturgill said her team needed to start the season.

“We knew they were a good team from the start. So we knew we had to show up,” Sturgill said. “They were a good serving and defensive team and I’m glad we saw that because our district is really competitive in that way.”

Despite the closeness of the match, Central kept control by making big plays at the net.

Savana Edwards finished with 19 kills for the Lady Warriors, and Megan VanDyke added 13 kills and six blocks.

“Our seniors really stepped up. I think they were both in double digits in kills,” Sturgill noted.

The first-year coach also had words of praise for setter Caitlynn Maggard (35 assists), libero Hannah McAmis (19 digs) and defensive player Rylee Duncan (13 digs).

Rye Cove coach Greg Gilliam said Central’s front line kept his team off balance most of the match.

“We had no answer for (Edwards). When she got hot, she got hot. We just didn’t have anybody to stop her,” Gilliam said. “We got quite a few blocks, but when they needed those big hits they kept on swinging and they got those kills when they needed them. And we didn’t.

“They got the win and I think they deserved it.”

Kaleigh Sloan had nine kills and two blocks for Rye Cove (0-1), and Callie Richardson finished with seven kills, nine blocks and nine service aces. Emily Bishop added 23 assists and 14 digs and Grace Rhoton closed with 21 digs for the Lady Eagles.

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