Enka volleyball coach Jennifer Kruk knew this would be a different kind of season.
It hasn’t disappointed.
The Sugar Jets (9-6, 7-2) have overcome their inexperience though, leaving the defending Mountain Athletic Conference 3-A champions in contention for a repeat.
Sophomore SallyAnne Johnson led the way Tuesday with 11 kills in a 3-0 sweep of homestanding Asheville High.
Whitney DeMoss is one of five seniors for Enka, and her second block of the night put away the Cougars (5-9, 1-7) on Tuesday, completing the 25-18, 25-13, 25-21 road win.
DeMoss also had eight kills and five aces. Johnson added two blocks and Sarah Smith contributed 23 assists, seven kills, three blocks and two digs.
“I love this group. They are a lot of fun to be around and eager to get better,” Kruk said.
“But there are some nights where I just don’t know where our heads are at. We’re working on that (consistency). We’re in a good position and we still have a lot to play for.”
Spikes from Johnson ended the first and second sets Tuesday. The third was tied 21-all before freshman libero Katie Duncan served out the match.
The rest of Enka’s seniors are Morgan Hollifield, Karley Hyatt, Laurel Rudisill and Sam Sheppard.
The Sugar Jets graduated nine seniors off last year’s 28-2 team that reached the 3-A Western Regional championship match. That group included Citizen-Times All-WNC Player of the Year Taylor Sauer, who is now at UNC Asheville.
“A lot of people have underestimated this team,” DeMoss said.
“But it really feels like the more we play together, the better we get.”
Individual leaders for Asheville on Tuesday included Kendall Buchanan (six kills, one block), Pia Mackie (eight kills, one ace), Claire Cole (seven kills, five aces) and Audrey Nash (17 assists).
Cougars coach Rhesa Edwards said her team has been bitten by the injury bug in recent weeks and also had two players out of the country on Tuesday.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t get at least one game tonight,” Edwards said.
“But we played tough against a good team. A lot of it right now with our team is mental.”
Enka is scheduled to play at MAC 3-A leader Reynolds (9-6, 7-1) on Thursday, while Asheville will head to McDowell. The Sugar Jets won the first Enka-Reynolds match, 3-2, on Sept. 10 in Candler.