Pisgah volleyball’s 2019 senior night was one to remember. The Bears topped Mountain Heritage three sets to two in their final home game Monday, dominating both the third and fifth sets from start to finish.
The night started with a ceremony to honor the accomplishments and contributions to the program of seniors Jessica Carines, Carter Gibson, Kennedy Sorrells, Kennady Ruff and Paige Griffith.
“It’s very special to us,” Gibson said. “Yes, we’re recognized everyday just by being able to play the sport. But it’s something that no one can take away from us. We’ve been here for three years, we’ve fallen on the floor, we’ve hit the ball, we’ve gone through injuries. It’s just sad to see it all come to an end.”
After the game, Pisgah head coach Josh Simmons spoke about what the quintet has meant to him in their time with the program.
“I just can’t say enough about those five kids,” Simmons said. “To me, they mean more than they’ll ever know. They have blessed me more, those five individuals, I came in here last year as a first-year head coach. Those five kids were all juniors and they knew they were coming back. The way they bless me and the people they are, they are just such top-notch people.
“They are just the best kids, they handle themselves the right way. That’s just such a testament to them and their parents and the way they brought them up. It meant so much to me to see them happy. Those kids, they do more for me than I ever do for them. I could not be happier for a group of girls.”
Pisgah fought in the fist set, but Mountain Heritage controlled the majority of it and won 25-17 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
“It felt really good, especially to us seniors,” Sorrells said. “We want to go off on a good end in our gym and it felt really good to be able to bounce back after that first set and finish strong.”
After the second set opened with a 9-9 tie, Pisgah took eight of the next 10 points for a 17-11 lead, its largest of the match to that point. After the Cougars took four straight to cut their deficit to two, the Bears regained control with a 6-0 run to take a 23-16 lead.
The Cougars took the next four points to cut Pisgah’s lead to 23-20, but the Bears found their killer instinct and took the final two points to take the set 25-20 and tie the match 1-1.
“It was very special to me,” Ruff said. “Honestly, I wanted to win tonight so bad. Coming in tonight, we all just had the energy of, ‘We’re going to win.’ Each and every single one of us had that one goal in mind and we accomplished it. So I’m very proud of all of us.”
Pisgah thoroughly dominated the third set, taking 25 of 31 points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Bears roared out of the gate in the third set, taking a 10-1 lead into the first timeout. That timeout did nothing to slow Pisgah’s momentum, as the team used a monstrous 10-0 run to take a 20-1 lead before the Cougars scored another point.
The Bears cruised to a 25-6 win, putting them on the brink of winning the match.
“It’s meant the world to me,” Carines said. “I’ve always wanted sisters, and these are like my family. They’re sisters to me. It means a lot.”
The fourth set was much closer to start, and saw an early 8-8 tie. The Bears, however; took four points in a row to take a 12-8 lead.
After the Cougars cut their deficit to two, Pisgah used a 5-2 run to inch closer to the win with a 19-14 lead. Mountain Heritage struck back however, tying the match at 19 with five points in a row. After the two teams battled back and forth through the next six points, the Cougars took three of the last four to win the set, sending the match to a fifth and final set.
The Bears were a team on a mission in the fifth and final set, taking the first 10 points before Mountain Heritage recorded one. Pisgah was not to be denied in the final home game for its seniors, and locked down the set 15-2 and the match 3-2.
“Our energy was really up in the last set, and that helped us,” Griffith said.
The Bears will close out the year with three road games, starting with Franklin on Tuesday.
“We just want to fight,” Simmons said. “The competition’s going to be really stiff and we know that. We just want to fight, enjoy the moments we have together and work hard every point, play as hard as we can every point, just really work hard and maybe surprise some people.”
This article was written and published before Tuesday’s match.