CLAYTON — One of the best seasons in the history of the Fuquay-Varina volleyball program continued on Saturday with a sweep of host Clayton 25-10, 25-9, 25-22, which coincidentally ended one of the best seasons in Clayton’s history.
Fuquay-Varina (16-5) has set a new school record for wins in a season, as has Clayton (21-4).
The difference in their first-round N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoff matchup came down to size and power.
Fuquay-Varina pelted the Comets with decisive kills and towering blocks, while Clayton – with no players taller than 5-foot-9 – struggled to put the ball down on the other side of the net.
“We just didn’t do a good job of hitting over them, and when we did hit it over them, it was like a free ball,” said Clayton coach Marlon Lee.
Fuquay-Varina’s Maddie Sonnendecker had a team-high 13 kills, twin sister Morgan had four, middle blocker Saraya Klink had seven kills (and four blocks) while Alex Barnett alternated in setting up all three.
The Bengals also had 15 aces.
But Fuquay-Varina was hoping for an even better performance, showing just how much the program’s attitude has changed in recent years.
“We didn’t play as good as we normally do,” Maddie Sonnendecker said. “They didn’t put up much of a block, so I just tried to switch up my shots.”
Lee and the seven Clayton seniors have, for the most part, all been together for the last four years. Lee had been the junior varsity coach for two seasons before taking over the varsity team and leading it to a 35-13 record in the last two seasons.
“I knew the girls knew how to win,” Lee said. “We hadn’t won a conference championship since 1986 and we tied (for the regular-season title) with Garner and luckily enough stopped their (conference winning) streak on their floor.”
Clayton’s Ashley Murphy had eight kills and Ali Orrigner had four, accounting for the majority of the Comets’ 15 on the night.
“We’re not going to look at tonight as our whole season. Once it gets to playoff time, teams are going to be pretty good,” Lee said.
The Bengals traveled to Durham Riverside in Tuesday’s second round.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps