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Enka falls in regional finals

Enka stumbles against Carson


11:03 PM, Oct. 31, 2012 EDT

From left, Sugar Jets' Sallyanne Johnson, Erin Williams and Taylor Sauer defend the net as Jesse Carson's Amimee Cloinger takes a shot in the 3-A Western Regional volleyball championship Wednesday. / John Coutlakis/jcoutlakis@citizen-times.com

CANDLER — 

Backed by a large and rowdy crowd, the Enka volleyball team got the rare opportunity to play on Halloween night.

The result was much more trick than treat.

Jesse Carson's impressive array of hitters overwhelmed the Sugar Jets on Wednesday to take the 3-A Western Regional championship, 3-0.

The clean sweep (25-20, 25-20, and 25-23) was just the second loss of the season for the Mountain Athletic Conference champion Sugar Jets (25-2).

The visiting Cougars (33-2), who hail from the Salisbury area, advance to play Cardinal Gibbons (19-3) on Saturday at N.C. State's Reynolds Coliseum.

"(Carson) is a very good team with so many options," Enka coach Jennifer Kruk said. "I wish we had given them a better match. We're a better team than we showed tonight. I wish them the best on Saturday, and I wish we were going where they're going."

The Cougars controlled much of the first two games but trailed by as many as four points on two different occasions in the third, 11-7 and 12-8.

As usual, Taylor Sauer provided most of the offense for Enka. She had 14 kills, 10 digs and four blocks. Delaney James dished out 26 assists. Both seniors toughed it out through injuries in the playoffs, helping the Sugar Jets match their best postseason run since 2007.

K.J. Ollila added nine digs, Lindsay Austin had six digs and Sierrah Mueller added five kills and five digs.

Wednesday was the fourth consecutive win for Carson over a conference champion. The Cougars represent the No. 2 seed out of the North Piedmont Conference.

"That was two good teams out there tonight," Carson coach Kelan Rogers said. "I could tell (Enka) was a little nervous, and I think our girls were, too. There were a lot of unforced errors that you wouldn't see normally."

The Sugar Jets will lose a large senior class to graduation that includes Austin, James, Mueller, Ollila, Sauer, Maitlyn Berglund, Kyara Porche, Mao Saito, Callie Shope and Erin Williams.

Austin (Mars Hill) and Sauer (UNC Asheville) have committed to play in college.

"It was a great season," Kruk said. "I'm really going to miss this group. They were a lot of fun to coach, and I'm so proud of the way they came together."

 

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