Conference action began for local volleyball and girls golf teams on Tuesday, while boys soccer and girls tennis continued nonconference play. While some teams experienced success in their first post-Labor Day matchups, others struggled.
Here's a look at how Tuesday's contests turned out:
Newton-Conover 3, Lincolnton 0
The Red Devils won in straight sets on Tuesday at home in their first conference matchup of the season against Lincolnton. Newton-Conover won by set scores of 25-20, 25-19 and 25-21 to move to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the South Fork 2A Conference.
Lincolnton fell to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the South Fork 2A Conference.
McDowell 3, Alexander Central 1
McDowell defeated the Cougars 23-25, 25-14, 25-18 and 25-21 on Tuesday in Marion in both squads' first conference matchup of the season. Makenna Parkins had 14 kills and 14 digs for the Titans (3-1 overall, 1-0 Northwestern 3A/4A). Emily Register and Jada Cannon each earned 10 kills.
The Cougars fell to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference.
Watauga 3, St. Stephens 1
The Indians struggled to keep up with Watauga as the Pioneers won their first conference game on Tuesday in Boone to remain undefeated. Rebakah Farthing had 23 kills for Watauga (5-0 overall, 1-0 Northwestern 3A/4A). Brooke Byrd had 19 kills and seven digs, while Chloe Baldwin had 15 digs.
St. Stephens fell to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference.
Freedom 3, South Caldwell 2
The Patriots outlasted the Spartans in five sets on Tuesday in Morganton behind set scores of 25-11, 25-27, 25-20, 21-25 and 15-3. Freedom improved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference, while South Caldwell fell to 1-6 overall and 0-1 in Northwestern 3A/4A Conference play.
Hickory 8, North Gaston 0
The Red Tornadoes shut out North Gaston on Tuesday at home to improve to 3-2-2 overall. Carter Holt racked up three goals and two assists for Hickory. Jose Vallecillos added two more goals and one assist. Ben Boston, Luis Juarez and Ernesto Poppante scored one goal each.
Fred T. Foard 3, Crest 1
Korbin Proctor scored one goal and had one assist to help the Tigers defeat Crest on Tuesday in Newton. Connor Josey and Jordan Del added one more goal each for Foard (3-0-2 overall) and Kevin Cervantes added one assist.
Julian Arreola scored the single goal for Crest.
St. Stephens 6, East Burke 0
The Indians dominated the Cavaliers on Tuesday in Icard to win their first match of the season. Favian Juarez scored two goals for St. Stephens (1-2-1 overall). Hunter Phelps scored one goal and earned an assist. Nick Burkett, David Tapia and Cole Fuller each added one more goal.
East Burke dropped to 1-3 overall.
Hibriten 3, Ashe County 0
The Panthers scored twice in the first half and once after halftime to blank Ashe County on the road Tuesday. David Franquiz scored two goals for Hibriten (4-1-1 overall), while Simon Hawkins added the other. Franquiz also had an assist to go with seven saves from goalkeeper Mack Waters.
Alexander Central 7, North Iredell 2
The Cougars defeated North Iredell on Tuesday in Taylorsville to improve to 3-1 overall. In singles, Kristin Ratliff (8-1), Emma Maltba (8-2), Caroline Wills (8-3), Caeley Arney (8-2) and Mackenzie Harper (8-1) each scored for Alexander Central. In doubles, the teams of Ratliff and Arney (8-3) and Wills and Harper (8-4) added one more point each.
East Burke 5, Newton-Conover 3
The team of Daisy Jantes and Taylor Bostain (8-1) won for East Burke to help defeat Newton-Conover and remain undefeated (2-0 overall) on Tuesday in Newton. In singles, Paige Houston (1-6, 6-2, 10-8), Zoie Smith (7-5, 6-7, 10-8), Jaden Ramsey (6-1, 7-5) and Jantes (6-2, 6-0) each scored for the Cavaliers.
For the Red Devils (0-2 overall), Alexa Allison (6-0, 6-0), Maddie Barrymore (6-4, 2-6, 10-8) and the team of Alexa Allison and Anna Grace Hinshaw (8-2) each scored.
University Christian 6, Hickory 3
University Christian won a road match over Hickory on Tuesday and remained undefeated (5-0 overall). London Fidler (7-6, 6-2), Ainsley Richardson (6-0, 6-3), Olivia Jarman (6-3, 7-6) and Lydia Gerrard (6-2, 6-1) each earned a point for University Christian. In doubles, the teams of Adele Huffman and Gracie Myers (8-3) and Gerrard and Catherine Glaze (8-4) scored for University Christian.
The Red Tornadoes dropped to 1-2 overall after getting victories from Nicole Kozischek (6-3, 6-1) and Ellie Holtzman (7-6, 6-2) in singles and the team of Kozischek and Charlotte Henry (8-4) in doubles.
St. Stephens 5, Crest 4
The Indians slipped past Crest on Tuesday at home, getting four wins in singles and one in doubles. Kate Starr (8-3), Klaire Staff (8-3), Zoey Boston (8-2) and Chloe Abbott (8-3) picked up wins for St. Stephens (1-5 overall) in singles, while the team of Natalie Harper and Liza Sakhonenko (8-5) was victorious in doubles.
Freedom wins conference match
Freedom won a Northwestern 3A/4A conference match at Boone Golf Club on Tuesday with a final score of 140. The match was hosted by Watauga High School. Christina Fisher of Freedom was the individual medalist with a score of 40, while Albany Bock (46) and Anna Czarkowski (54) also scored for the Patriots.
McDowell placed second with a final score of 151 and Watauga was third with 162, while Alexander Central (167), South Caldwell (175) and Hickory (176) held down the final three spots. St. Stephens' Christa Swanner also competed for individual honors, finishing with a 56.
Alexander Central's top three scorers consisted of Kaitlyn Harrington (55), Chelsey Arney (56) and Heather Cronan (56), while South Caldwell was led by Lana McCall (55) and Lexi Summerlin (59) with Hannah Bumgarner and Kayla Watson both shooting 61. For Hickory, Mary Grace Neill (57), Anna Fleenor (58) and Claire Darden (61) were the top three scorers.