Blue Ridge Early College took on Swain in a preseason scrimmage on Nov. 11 and won all 4 games.
BREC Chloe Fowler dives to make the save against Swain but the ball was just out of reach.
BREC Coach Carlton Fowler said they began practicing together on Nov. 4 as soon as state mandates allowed. Before practicing as a group was an option, players did what they could to stay in shape by establishing routines and working out individually several times a week for three months.
BREC Charlotte Sherrill kills the ball at home against Swain.
“We’re bringing back 6 starters from last year and they have all worked extremely hard to improve their game,” said Fowler. “We’re excited about this year.”
The preseason opening scrimmage had it’s challenges due to COVID-19 restrictions as Coaches made final clarifications to state guidelines set by NCHSAA (North Carolina High School Athletic Association) before the match to make sure all appropriate protocols were in place.
BREC Setter Mahalah Stewart sets up teammate Macy Heltsley who puts a point on the board.
All of Swain’s team and several BREC players wore masks during play. Fowler said as of Nov. 11 (last Wednesday), players were not required to wear masks during play, but he said that could change any day. After the game ended, Fowler discussed ordering masks with BREC Athletic Director Tim Mayse to be prepared in case masks become mandated.
From left are BREC Gracie Watson and Holly Foss ready to block the upcoming hit from Swain.
“There are a lot of unknowns this year but we’re thankful for the opportunity to play and excited about what we’re able to accomplish,” said Fowler. “We have no control over what happens next, so we take it as it comes. I wish we were playing under better circumstances, but we’re so grateful to play.”
BREC Vanessa Russell returns a Swain serve on Nov. 11 at home.
BREC Ella Day waits for the free ball from Swain to make an easy pass.
BREC Gracie Watson took a break from killing the ball and tipped it over the net for point.
From left are BREC Holly Foss and Chloe Fowler joking around during a break in the game.
BREC Macy Heltsley makes the tip for the side out against Swain.
BREC Mercedes McLaughlin seems to hang in the air before sending the ball over to the Swain side of the fence.
BREC Gracie Watson (back towards camera) celebrates crushing a kill against Swain.
BREC Coach Carlton Fowler conveys as much strategy as possibly during a time out against Swain.
From left are BREC Mahalah Stewart and Chloe Fowler waiting to break to their positions against Swain.
BREC Gracie Watson sends a serve over the net against Swain.
BREC Charlotte Sherrill gets set to return Swain’s serve.
BREC Vanessa Russell sends the ball back over to Swain.
BREC Ella Day signals she’s ready to do this.
BREC Macy Heltsley digs a tough serve from Swain and gets the ball to the setter.
BREC heads back onto to the court hoping to maintain the 3-0 lead in games against Swain.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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