The Halifax County Middle School volleyball team has only two players, Abby Duffer and Emma Payne, among its six starters that had a lot of quality playing time last season.

Still, the team is on a good path in the early portion of the season.

Halifax County Middle School rang up its third win in a row and its first Junior Piedmont District win of the season Monday afternoon with a 2-0 straight-set win over Patrick County Middle School at Halifax County Middle School.

“I was happy with the team,” Lions coach Reagan Cannon said after the contest that the Lions won by scores of 25-18 and 25-12.

“The girls are definitely showing improvement. Each day I feel like we’re getting better.”

The Lions faced a tough challenge from the Cougars early, falling behind 5-0 at the start of the opening set. It wasn’t until the middle stages of the set that the Lions started to surge.

Halifax County Middle School trailed 14-12, but it rallied to tie the set at 17-17 and took the lead at 18-17. The Lions outscored the Cougars 7-1 after that and won the first set 25-18.

Payne and teammate Makayla Powell helped lead the Lions comeback effort, with both running off a string of four straight service points during one of their turns at serving.

“We came out looking like we were a little timid,” Cannon pointed out.

“This team (Patrick County Middle School) was definitely the best team we have seen so far. The girls looked a little unsure at first, but they got it together.”

Patrick County Middle School took a quick 2-0 lead in the second set, but it didn’t last long. The Lions rallied to tie the set at 2-2, forged a 5-2 lead and easily pulled away, forging a 12-point lead on three occasions enroute to the 25-12 win in the second set.

Payne, Powell and Peyton Irby helped spur the Lions in the second set as each of the three players ran off a string of five straight service points during one of their turns at serving.

“I am proud of the girls for the way they have played so far,” Cannon remarked, “but we still have a lot of areas we need to work on to get better.

Monday’s contest was the first in what is a busy week for the Lions. The Lions were scheduled to host Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School Tuesday night. They also have a match Thursday at Laurel Park Middle School.

HCMS MATCH RESULTS

Halifax County Middle School 2 Patrick County Middle School 0

Set Scores: HCMS 25-18, 25-12

Service Points - Emma Payne 13, Abby Duffer 8, Makayla Powell 7, Peyton Irby 5, Blakely Martin 3, Olivia Seamster 2

Aces – Peyton Irby 5, Emma Payne 4, Abby Duffer 4, Makayla Powell, Olivia Seamster, Blakely Martin 1 each

Kills – Olivia Seamster 3, Abby Duffer 2, Peyton Irby 2, Makayla Powell 1

Assists – Emma Payne 7

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at jchandler@gazettevirginian.com.

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at jchandler@gazettevirginian.com