Hornets sweep into third round of volleyball playoffs

October 31, 2018


Aiken High volleyball coach Malynda Young didn’t really feel stressed during any of the three sets her team played Tuesday night.

Even though they were close, and even though it was a playoff match, she’s seen enough from her team to know they can flip that switch and finish off an opponent.

Aiken did just that against A.C. Flora in a 25-18, 25-20, 25-17 sweep to reach Thursday’s third round at North Myrtle Beach.

“I know that this team has that in them, and they’ve kind of shown that all season,” said Young. ”... I think we just had times that we just kind of went through the motions rather than actually utilizing the court and doing what we needed to do. When they would get back on that run, they would usually do pretty well. But where was a lot of back-and-forth ... but I thought they did a good job rebounding from what went wrong. They did a good job.”

The Hornets, who had a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed from Region 5-AAAA, didn’t trail much on their home floor, but Flora hung around enough to keep it from becoming a runaway.

Aiken scored the last eight points of the first set to break a 17-all tie. The Hornets forced Flora into some attack errors, and Destiny Mays and Olivia Nation had late kills to give Aiken an early advantage.

The Hornets charged ahead in the second, utilizing a 7-2 run to go ahead 19-13. Three consecutive Flora errors rebuilt that margin at 23-16, and Mays and Lexi Floyd had winners to finish off the set after a 4-0 Falcons run.

Flora led 11-9 in the third before Aiken heated up. Mays helped lead a 6-0 burst to put the Hornets in front for good. Aiken closed the match on an 8-2 run, fittingly with the final point coming from Mays.

Mays had a team-high 14 kills and hit .722 for the match. Payton Tyler (12 kills, 21 digs) and Aubrey Crump (28 assists, 11 digs) each had double-doubles. Sara Gregory had 19 digs, Lilly Anaclerio had 14 and Floyd added 10.

“We kind of started picking up on what defense they were running, and so we were able to find the spots once we did that,” Young said. “Our middles actually did a really good job at the net tonight, which was helpful. I’m guessing we had pretty close to 95 percent serving, so that worked for us also. ... We were able to keep them out of system. Hey, it worked out. We’re going to round three.”