Red Hawks top Lancers 3-0 in season opener

CVCC freshman Adair Melton(6) blocks a shot by a USC-Lancaster player during Tuesday's conference match at the Tarlton Complex.
CVCC freshman Adair Melton(6) blocks a shot by a USC-Lancaster player during Tuesday's conference match at the Tarlton Complex.

HICKORY, N.C. — Battling through injuries that have depleted its roster, the Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team persevered for a 3-0 victory against USC-Lancaster in its regular-season opener on Tuesday night at the Tarlton Complex.

Set scores were 25-16, 25-19 and 25-11.

"I think we played a little nervous and up tight at first, but after we kind of got into our groove and settled down a bit and everybody got comfortable with each other on the court, they played much better," said CVCC head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson of her team's performance. "That last set, we finally got comfortable with each other, played much better and played some good volleyball."

The Red Hawks were without five of their players due to injuries in the match. Hudson was proud of the grit her team showed despite being without those athletes.

"We have so many injuries right now, and it's hard just to stay focused on what we do and remember to improve every day at practice," Hudson said. "We'll have a couple of girls back for the weekend, which will help, and everybody will be back in their normal positions. It was good to get this win under our belt and kind of get some of the nerves out before we head to Ohio on Thursday."

Adair Melton led the Red Hawks (1-0, 1-0) in their victory, driving down a team-high nine kills. Sabrina Pinard and Mikayla Creswell added six kills apiece, while Katie Rupp made a team-best 28 assists.

Defensively, Pinard (13), Emily Williams (11) and Melton (10) all tallied double-digit digs.

After claiming victories in the first two sets, including an extremely competitive back-and-forth second set, the Red Hawks closed out their match against the Lancers strong, winning 13 of the first 15 points in the third set — many of them on the serve of Williams, a libero.

CVCC prepares to hit the road for the first time this season when it participates in the Owens Invitational in Perrysburg, Ohio.

"It's a great gauge for where we are," Hudson said of the tournament. "We'll take into account our injuries. We'll be able to adjust for that. It's still a great tournament. We're looking forward to going and seeing some great teams up there."


Before the match, Hudson was honored for her 250th career victory — receiving a plaque from CVCC Athletic Director Nick Schroeder. Hudson earned her milestone win at the close of last season at the NJCAA Division II National tournament.

The Red Hawks are on the road for their next 10 matches, including tournaments in Ohio and Florida and two road games in South Carolina. Four of those games — all the Owens Invitational — are against top-25 teams in the NJCAA Division II ranks, including No. 1 Parkland College, No. 13 Grand Rapids Community College, No. 16 Illinois Central College and No. 19 Muskegon Community College.

The next home volleyball match for CVCC is Sept. 14 when they welcome Surry Community College to the Tarlton Complex.