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HILLSVILLE – Entering the Region IV volleyball tournament as one of the lower seeds, Carroll County was fortunate not to draw overall No. 1 Cave Spring. The consolation was minimal, though, as the Cavaliers got a date with the last team Cave Spring lost to.
Hidden Valley, fresh off a win over the Knights in the River Ridge tournament finals, needed less than an hour to dispatch the Cavaliers, coasting to a 25-15, 25-5, 25-11 win in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
“You want to peak at the end of the year, and beating Blacksburg then beating Cave Spring, we’re starting to gel,” Hidden Valley coach Carla Poff said.
For years the dominant team in the Southwest District, Carroll County (15-8) had been mired in the middle of the SWD standings with a .500 record against league foes before closing with six straight wins, including the district tournament championship.
The late surge wasn’t enough to produce a challenge against the Titans (21-5).
The size and the offensive speed of Hidden Valley was evident from the start as Carroll County fell behind 22-7 in the first set following runs of 10-1 and 8-2 by the Titans. Murphy Smith’s kill and back-to-back spikes by Lexi Hodge sparked the Cavaliers to a 6-0 spurt before Hidden Valley closed out the game with a dink from setter Sarah Patterson.
“When you don’t have the height to match them, there’s not a whole lot you can do,” Carroll County coach Cindy Edwards said.
Patterson, a transfer from Florida with an offer to play at James Madison, created a unique challenge in the form of a 6-foot-tall setter.
“You’re already at the net and you can flip [the ball], you don’t have to jump and your hand is already this far above the net,” said Edwards of the advantage of such a tall setter. “There’s no defending that, whatsoever. Then their middle [hitter] is as tall as she is, all coming over the net, there’s no defense for it.”
Prospects for a Cavalier comeback weren’t in sight during the second set as Sarah Gray fired three straight aces to ignite a 15-1 Titans run. Hidden Valley notched eight aces in the set.
The Titans won 23 straight points in one span, closing the second set with an 8-0 run and reeling off 15 straight to open the third. Gray served for the first 10 points, including four aces, before being subbed out for Anna Podeshi, who finished the 15-0 run.
Caroline Boone led the Titans at the net with 11 kills and Madison Morris added five. Patterson put up 26 assists to go with five kills.
Hodge led the Cavaliers with five kills.