Cobras Improve to 7-1, Off to Best Start since 1998-99

Cobras Improve to 7-1, Off to Best Start since 1998-99

PEMBROKE, N.C. – The Coker College women's volleyball team improved to 7-1 for the first time since 1998-99 after victories over Lees-McRae (3-0) and UNC Pembroke (3-2) on Saturday (Sept. 1). 

Preseason All-SAC selection Taylor du Bray led the way in Coker's 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-17) victory over Lees-McRae. Du Bray recorded a game-high 17 kills, three service aces, and 11 digs in the contest. 

The Cobras reeled off the first four points of the match thanks to kills by du Bray and Payton Jackson, and a service ace from Olivia Cerick. They'd stretch the lead as high as 11 points to 22-11 after an ace by Kara Overholt. Emily Everton closed out the set with a kill from Rami Mullen to give Coker the 25-15 set victory.

Coker jumped out to a 15-8 lead in the second set, but the Bobcats came storming back to close the gap to just 22-21. Senior Cayley Gunter responded with a timely kill to help secure the 25-22 victory.

The Cobras controlled the third set from the start, jumping out to a quick 16-9 lead. They'd extend the lead to 21-10 after a kill by Lana Strejcek, consecutive kills by Gunter, and back-to-back services aces by du Bray. Mullen shined in the third set with 14 assists, she'd end the match with game-highs in assists (37) and digs (15).  

In the second game, Coker downed UNC Pembroke 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 18-25, 25-27, 15-13) to improve to 7-1 for the first time in 20 years. 

Counting the preseason, this is the third time these two teams have met in three weeks. Coker took the first regular season match 3-1 last weekend at the 2018 FMU/Coker Invitational. 

After falling behind 4-1 in the first set, the Cobras used a 7-0 run to gain an advantage. The two teams battled back and forth throughout the set with the Braves taking a 22-21 lead. A kill by Gunter, and consecutive kills by Strejcek eventually buried UNC Pembroke, and gave Coker the 25-22 set victory. 

The second set was yet another battle, with the Cobras falling behind 18-15. A well placed timeout by head coach Julia Rowland helped rally the team to three straight points, including two service aces by Lana Strejcek. The Braves would grab a 22-20 lead before Coker would win the final five points of the set on the strength of two aces by Cerick, and a kill by du Bray.

The Cobras dropped the third and fourth sets 25-18 and 27-25, but rebounded to finish off UNC Pembroke in a thrilling fifth set 15-13. The Cobras trailed 10-8 before a pair of kills by Cerick and a kill by du Bray put Coker out in front 12-10. The Braves battled back to tie the game at 13-13, and du Bray put the final seal on the victory with consecutive kills from Mullen to secure the victory. 

The final box score produced some eye-popping numbers. Du Bray ended up with 19 kills, and 12 digs. Cerick finished with 12 kills and 21 digs, and Mullen recorded 50 assists for the first time in her career along with 19 digs.

The Cobras will be back in action on Sept. 4 when they travel to Charlotte for their first South Atlantic Conference match of the season against Queens (N.C.). Game time is scheduled for 7 pm.