Collegiate volleyball

Henderson Collegiate volleyball player Nikki Pendergrass (center) dives for the ball while her sister and teammate Kara Pendergrass (7) rushes over during their team’s 3-0 loss to Vance Charter on senior night Wednesday.

HENDERSON — A quiet Aycock Recreation Center greeted the Henderson Collegiate volleyball program as they faced Vance Charter on their senior night Wednesday that honored Malicia Robinson, Kara and Nikki Pendergrass.

Vance Charter ended up sweeping all three sets, but Henderson Collegiate head coach Lauren Dennis praised her players for battling hard throughout the entire evening and putting together some great sequences against a solid opponent.

“I’m really proud of everyone,” Dennis said. “One of our best players has a concussion, so we threw in some things that we don’t normally do. Malicia played all the way around as opposed to just the back row, but if we limited the unforced errors, then it might have been a closer game.”

With Henderson Collegiate playing inside Aycock for the first time in the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 restrictions, Dennis sensed that her players wanted to make the most out of the opportunity, but knew that defeating Vance Charter was going to be an immense challenge.

In all three sets, Henderson Collegiate held their own against Vance Charter, but a combination of serving errors and poor movement around the floor in the first two games enabled Vance Charter to pull away with lopsided victories of 25-9 and 25-6, respectively.

The final set of the night proved to be Henderson Collegiate’s best as they took advantage of several mistakes from Vance Charter, but they failed to sustain the momentum and lost 25-12 to remain winless on the season.

For Vance Charter, Wednesday’s matchup was their first game since Nov. 24 after the school elected to go to remote learning to conclude the winter semester, but head coach Anna Stallings did not expect any issues against Henderson Collegiate with the amount of chemistry her players possess with one another.

“Everyone did good with moving quickly in transition and communicating,” Stallings said. “We had some different lineups in, but everyone communicated well even despite not being used to playing alongside some of their teammates. The speed of our offense is something we could still improve on.”

Dennis was disappointed that Robinson and the Pendergrass twins were unable to obtain a victory in their final home game with Henderson Collegiate, but she said that their impact on the program will continue to be observed by the underclassmen and future members of the roster.

“There had only been two coaches before me, and the girls had talent, but didn’t know rotations or the fundamentals,” Dennis said. “We worked so hard on those last year, and this year the seniors really helped the freshman grow, but they had fun every day. We played on a string in the cafeteria for the majority of our two years and they were always smiling regardless of what the score was.”

Both Henderson Collegiate and Vance Charter concluded their regular seasons on Thursday with matchups against Falls Lake Academy and East Wake Academy, respectively.