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Cavs win SWD, advance in regionals

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By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE –– For a while it looked as if Carroll County would need little more than 45 minutes to take care of Patrick County in the Region IV quarterfinals Tuesday. And for a while it looked like the match would go a full five games.

The Cavaliers were happy with the compromise.

Carroll County dominated the first two games before Patrick County rallied to make a match of it, with the Cavaliers eventually pulling off a 25-9, 25-19, 21-25, 25-22 victory.

Carroll coach Cindy Edwards was happy to see it end in the fourth game.

“Anything can happen in a fifth game,” she said after her Cavaliers won their 23rd straight game without a loss. “They were scrappy. They warmed up a little bit after getting off the bus. We knew they were going to be scrappy digging the ball.”

The Cavaliers made the Cougars their first and third victim of the year, but that was in August and early September.

“They’ve gotten better as their season went on,” Edwards said. “But we just didn’t pass very well. That was the bottom line, and we know we’ve got to play better than we did tonight when we play Thursday.”

Carroll County was poised to send the Cougars home after three games, up two games to none and leading 14-8 in the third. But a Cavalier serve into the net kicked off a 7-0 Patrick County rally that included two Olivia Triplett aces and four Cavalier errors, the last of which had Patrick leading 15-14.

Carroll County took its last lead of the game, 21-20, with a 3-0 run capped by a Leanna Rippey spike, but the Cougars answered with five straight points to finish the game.

“I thought we attacked the ball hard, but they started defending really well,” Edwards said.

Momentum carried over into the fourth game as Patrick went toe-to-toe with the Cavaliers through the first 44 points. Three lead changes and 17 ties had the two teams deadlocked at 22-all before a Sarah Singleton kill and two missed Cougar smashes ended Patrick’s season.

Carroll County broke away from a 3-3 tie with eight straight points in the first game, and finished on a13-3 run as Honesty Rogers and later Singleton both fired consecutive aces. Kim Caudill’s kill, one of her 22 on the night, put Carroll up a game.

A 9-2 Patrick County run was answered by a 7-2 Cavalier spurt in the second. The Cougars led 19-17 on Ginna Williams’ ace, but Carroll finished the game on an 8-0 run that included three Rogers aces and two Caudill winners at the net.

Rogers would serve up five aces on the night and Caudill finished with nine blocks. Maleah Neely had 16 service points, 15 assists and three blocks and Rippey added nine kills.

The Cavaliers moved on to Thursday’s semifinals against Salem.

“I keep telling the kids they don’t have anything to lose,” Edwards said. “Everybody’s saying it will be Salem or Hidden Valley or Cave Spring and that Southwest Virginia doesn’t know how to play volleyball, and if we play like we did tonight we are going to get beat. But we get to play another day. We didn’t play well last Thursday and came back and played really well [in the SWD finals] Saturday, so hopefully it will be the same thing here.”

SWD TOURNAMENT

Carroll County coupled a Southwest District tournament championship to go with its regular season title, thumping Abingdon 25-16, 25-16, 25-20 in the SWD finals Saturday in Hillsville.

Carroll County, which improved to 22-0 with the win, got 16 kills from Kim Caudill and 16 serving points from both Honesty Rogers and Sarah Singleton.

Abingdon was led by Julie Stepp’s 17 kills and six blocks.