As the adage goes, beating a team three times in one season is hard.
But there’s not much that West Henderson struggles with on a volleyball court, either.
The Falcons needed a little more than 70 minutes Tuesday to blank visiting Enka, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17 and 25-18), in the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs.
Mary Catherine Ball led the way with 12 kills and Taylor Houck had 11. Kasey Kilpatrick dished out 25 assists to go along with 15 digs. Savanna Austin had 20 digs, followed by Destynee Galloway (eight) and Caroline Hauss (seven).
The Western North Carolina Athletic Conference champions have won 50 matches in the league the past four years, but are also known for playing a challenging nonconference schedule. The Falcons (24-2) previously swept Enka by 3-0 scores on Aug. 20 and Oct. 5.
“I saw Enka not that long ago and I really thought they were starting to peak,” West Henderson coach Tiffany Lowrance said.
“I know that (Sugar Jets coach Jennifer Kruk) does a great job with them, too, so we weren’t taking anything for granted tonight. We had to be focused.”
Co-Mountain Athletic Conference 3-A champion Enka ends its season with a 13-10 record, while the Falcons advance to host Pisgah (19-4) in Thursday’s third round. That match will begin at 6 p.m.
West Henderson’s only losses this season have come to Pisgah and Hendersonville, a county rival which is still active in the 2-A state playoffs.
The Falcons got off to a fast start Tuesday as three of the match’s first four points were service aces by Ball (two) and Galloway.
Enka jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the third set, but could not finish it off.
The Sugar Jets were led by Caroline Moody (13 kills, five digs and three blocks), SallyAnne Johnson (eight kills and four digs), Whitney DeMoss (five kills and three blocks), Morgan Hollifield (eight digs) and Sarah Smith (25 assists, two kills and two digs).
Enka will lose five seniors to graduation — DeMoss, Hollifield, Karley Hyatt, Laurel Rudisill and Sam Sheppard.
“(West Henderson) is a very good team and it’s always tough to play here,” Kruk said.
“We had our moments tonight, and if we just could have stayed consistent, who knows what could have happened. I’m proud of this group. We were dealt a little different hand than we’re used to this year, but we still won a conference championship because my seniors were such great leaders.”