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Ladybirds edge Panthers in season opener

STANHOPE — The Southern Nash High volleyball team opened its season with a thrilling, 3-2 victory over North Johnston at home Monday night.

The 3-A Ladybirds of the 2-A/3-A Big East Conference won the first, third and fifth sets for the victory, with the Panthers of the 2-A Neuse 6 Conference twice tying the match with victories in the second and fourth sets. 

Southern Nash opened the match with a 25-23 victory in set one before North Johnston tied it with a 25-21 win in the second set. The Ladybirds had a chance to clinch the match following a 25-18 third-set win, the Panthers forced a winner-take-all fifth set by rallying for a 25-20 win in the fourth. Southern Nash won the final set 19-17 to secure a 1-0 start to the season. 

Natalie Price led the Firebirds with 18 kills, followed by Avery Bissette with 10 kills and Tabatha Tomaszewksi with six kills and five blocks. 

Macy Strickland chipped in four aces and picked up “multiple key digs to keep the Ladybirds alive.”

Southern Nash will visit Fike Tuesday, while North Johnston will be back in action with a rematch against the Ladybirds in Kenly on Monday, Aug. 22.