New Bern keeps flirting with dropping a set early in the volleyball season, but that's all it is.
The Bears won their third match in as many outings, 3-0, Wednesday night at home over Havelock, but it didn't come easy.
Scores were 25-20, 25-17 and 25-23, closer than Bears' coach Heidi Ricks' liking.
"We didn't play our speed, our kind of ball enough tonight," Ricks said. "When we did, it gave Havelock some problems, but kudos to them too. They were great competition for us tonight."
The Rams had the lead at some point in each of the three sets but could not hold it.
That both frustrated, and encouraged, Havelock head coach Carrie Lynch.
"I obviously don't like that we lost, but we lost a competitive match and I feel we gave them great competition as they did us," Lynch said. "We would get to 17 or 18 points and then just lose it. So we have to work on finishing."
New Bern was led by Ellie Hanford nine kills. Those kills were boosted by clutch serves from Hayes Darden in the third set that helped spark a streak of seven-straight service points when the Bears trailed 18-16.
Play at the net by Caitlin Magee, Dylan Smith, Noelle Brien and Grayson Norwood was big for the Bears, aiding Hanford.
"The middles saved them tonight, I told the team that," Ricks said. "Dylan had some good blocks at the net and Magee had some big plays as well."
Havelock was paced by Katelyn Clark's serving and the net play of Lauren Hill, Nseya Harden and Nydia Brown.
Lynch said she is excited about the potential the Rams have.
"We can be really good I feel," she said. "We have a lot of individual talent and if we can get that cohesion down, we can be good."
New Bern improved to 3-0 and Havelock fell to 0-3.
The Bears visit West Craven on Thursday while the Rams travel to East Carteret.
Jordan Honeycutt can be reached at 252-635-5670 or at firstname.lastname@example.org