Blue Ridge Early College varsity volleyball team travelled to Highlands on Wednesday for the official season opener and took the win 3-1.
The Lady Bobcats came out swinging, coming fresh off the heels of scrimmages against Swain and Hiwassee Dam.
It was the Lady Highlanders’ first time back on the court in a game setting this year and they were also without hitter Jordan Carrier. Carrier is out for the season because of a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus in her left knee.
BREC Coach Carlton Fowler said the girls played well, and every time they step on the court against Highlands it’s a challenge.
“I thought we did a great job,” said Fowler. “Highlands is a scrappy team and they played great also. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, season opener or conference championship, every time we play against them it’s going to be tough. This isn’t a conference game and we know they’re going to come back.”
Wednesday’s game was not a conference match because of changes in the season’s schedule due to COVID. The breakdown is that each team plays against teams in their conference three times. The first game is considered a regular season game, and the second two are conference games.
Highlands Coach Desiray Schmitt said she was happy with what she saw on the court.
“We did really good,” said Schmitt. “We were hustling like we’re supposed to, blocking, returning their serves, getting our tips in, they were really reading the court well. But covering, it just killed us all game.”
BREC Gracie Watson said it’s always a challenge taking on Highlands, but it helped to get a couple of scrimmages in before the season officially began.
“We did great,” said Watson. “We communicated better than we have been in the past, we kept our emotions out of it, and the game seemed to start slower without Jordan [Carrier] hitting it at us right from the start.”
All athletes wore masks on the court because of COVID-19 protocols. Watson said it was difficult to hear her teammates through the masks, but they had to adjust.
Highlands Brandy Zagal made her first appearance on the Lady Highlanders varsity squad and said it was exciting starting off the season against BREC.
“It was my first game playing on varsity, we played Blue Ridge, and the first game of the season is always the worst,” said Zagal. “I was scared. I’ve heard about the hits from Gracie [Watson] and Charlotte [Sherrill] and they’re tough. And our covering was awful, we weren’t getting close enough and the ball would just drop right in front of us.”
Spectators of athletic events are currently limited to parents, support staff, and media in adherence with North Carolina High School Athletic Association guidelines.
Pictured at the top of the article is BREC Charlotte Sherrill scoring a kill against Highlands.