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Buckin’ Elks deny Eagles first conference win

BUCKIN’ ELKS DENY EAGLES FIRST CONFERENCE WIN

Late in the fourth set of Thursday night’s Mountain Valley Athletic Conference volleyball match in Moravian Falls, Wilkes Central was on its way to forcing a fifth set against Elkin. But the Buckin’ Elks had other plans as they battled back to win the set and the match, 3-1, against the Eagles. Trailing 20-15 after a kill from Wilkes Central’s Kailey McNeil, Elkin scored six of the next seven points, which included a pair of aces from Deah Goodwin. With the second ace tying the set at 21-all, Elkin (3-7, 3-2) added a pair of dump shots from Bayle Wood and Kylie Thomas to capture a 25-23 win. Ashley Clonch, Wilkes Central’s head coach, felt her team came out Thursday with more desire and focus than it did in Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss at Ashe County. “We’re hurting in a lot ways. We can’t pick up a win; we’re fighting to the end. We went up to Ashe County and got beat and we were wanting this one really hard tonight,” said Clonch. “We’ve got to get over the hump of when we’re scoring 21-22 points and we’re up, we’ve got to finish those games and we’re struggling to do that.” After dropping the first set 25-17, the Eagles came back in the second set and led by as many as seven at 21-14 following a joint block from Molly Brown and Allison Parker, which prompted Elkin Head Coach Jerry Ann Brown to call a timeout. Out of the breather, the Buckin’ Elks ran off eight of the next nine points to tie the match at 22 following an ace from Reagan Parks. Elkin was one point away from taking the set following a block from Cameron Beals but a dump shot from Wilkes Central’s Jordan Ellis tied the score at 25. Kailey McNeil and Lacey Triplett added a pair of aces sandwiched in between an attack error to pick up a 28-26 win. During the second set, Clonch was pleased with her teams’ offensive rhythm but wanted to see it on a consistent basis. “That’s something we’ve been working on in practice, Lacey setting and us hitting off those sets. We’re trying to be more aggressive; a lot of times we tend to be a little passive but we’ve been working on our swings,” said Clonch. “With Allison and Kailey, we need to utilize that and the same with Jordan and Holly (Swofford), even though she wasn’t here today. Brooke (McNeil) swings really well and so does Molly — we’ve got a great lineup, we’ve just got to put it down every time.” Elkin won the third set 25-15. The Buckin’ Elks, which picked up a five-set victory against Starmount on Tuesday, will return to the floor when they travel to East Wilkes next Tuesday. The Eagles dropped to 0-5 in the league and 3-9. They’ll be back in action on Tuesday at home against the Rams. Despite watching her team drop its sixth-straight match, Clonch admired the attitude during the skid and is ready to see things turn around for them. “I’m proud of my girls. It’s been tough but they’ve not quit on me because after all the losses we’ve had, it’d be easy for them to give up and lose in three games but we’re not,” Clonch said. “They have the mindset that, ‘We’ll play them again’ and that’s the way we look at it.

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