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Warriors fall short of title game

Stephanie King

The Wheatmore Lady Warriors’ volleyball team was one step closer to the advancing to the state championship on Tuesday as they hosted the third-seeded Adyen-Grifton Chargers in the 2A East Regional Finals. Wheatmore defeated Richlands, South Columbus, Whiteville, and Clinton to advance to the regional finals and had just one more obstacle in their way of moving on the to 2A state championship game. The Lady Warriors entered the game 27-2 on the season.

Adyen Grifton took the first point of the match, but the Lady Warriors answered and matched the Chargers point for point for the first few minutes. Carson Elliott and Hope Turbyfill started strongly to keep the Warriors even with the Chargers. After a serving error on the Chargers tied the set at five-all, Turbyfill served up an ace to give the Warriors their first lead of the set. From there, the Warriors surged ahead for an 11-7 lead behind three kills from Elliott. The Chargers tried to pull themselves back into the set, but could not get closer than two. After Ayden-Grifton cut the lead to 14-12, Wheatmore answered with a 5-1 run behind a tip from Hailey Rae Davis and a kill from Turbyfill. Wheatmore never waivered during the final minutes of the set taking a 25-19 win.

Wheatmore opened the second set with the first point before falling behind 3-1 to the Chargers. The Warriors quickly battled back to tie the set at four-all, but the Chargers pulled away for a 7-4 lead. Turbyfill cut the lead to two with a kill before the Chargers extended their lead to 9-5. A tip from Davis trimmed the lead down to three as the Warriors continued to stay close to the Chargers. Wheatmore began to cut into the lead when a block from Davis cut the lead to 16-13. The lead was cut to one on a kill from Turbyfill before the Warriors were able to tie the game at 18-all. Wheatmore took their first lead of the set at 19-18 and then extended it to two on an ace from Natalie Dodd. The Chargers trimmed the lead to one, but the Warriors answered with a tip from Kelly Williams. Wheatmore stayed in front until the Chargers tied the set at 22-all. A kill from Elliott put the Warriors back on top and they quickly added one more point for a 24-22 lead. The Chargers cut the lead to one before tying the set again at 24-all. A serving error on the Chargers gave the Warriors a 25-24 lead, but the Chargers regrouped scoring the final three points for a 27-25 set win.

The Chargers took an early 2-1 lead in set three before a kill from Elliott tied the set at two-all for the Warriors. Ayden-Grifton went back in front 5-2, but the Warriors answered with a 3-1 run to cut the lead to one at 6-5. The Chargers went on a run of their own taking a 12-8 lead over Wheatmore. The Warriors trimmed the lead to four after a kill from Bailey Whiteford. Turbyfill added a kill and a tip to cut the lead to 16-12 before the Chargers went on a 9-3 run to close out the set. Ayden-Grifton won the set 25-15 taking a 2-1 match lead over the Warriors.

Ayden-Grifton once again took an early 4-1 lead to open the fourth set of play. A kill from Turbyfill cut the lead to two, but the Chargers pushed ahead for a 7-2 lead. The Chargers turned things up to another level as they laid down some monstrous kills to maintain their lead over the top-seed Warriors. The momentum was on the side of the Chargers as they built a 20-7 lead over the Warriors. Wheatmore tried to claw their way back with hits from Turbyfill, Davis, and Elliott. They got the lead down to eight at 23-15 but did not have enough time to fight their way back. Ayden-Grifton got the win 25-15 and took the match 3-1 to advance to the state championship.

It was a phenomenal season for Wheatmore as they finish the season 27-3 overall and 13-0 in PAC-7 play. The Warriors were PAC-7 regular-season champions and PAC-7 tournament champions.

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