The Catawba Ridge boys’ volleyball team will be playing for a state championship in their first season of existence after beating the Eastside Eagles in the 4A Upper State championship Monday.
Catawba Ridge beat Eastside 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 15-25, 25-18) and will now take on Bishop England for the 4A state championship at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 at Dreher High School in Columbia. The Copperheads improved to 21-8-1 on the season with the win.
“I am so proud of these kids,” said Catawba Ridge head coach Ross Lisee. “After we lost that third set, we just regrouped. I will go to battle with these guys any day.”
Catawba Ridge got off to a good start at home in front of their best crowd of the season. Eastside opened the first set going up 5-1, but the Copperheads rallied to tie the set at 8 and then took a 13-12 lead pushing the Eagles into a timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Catawba Ridge started to play stronger at the net and was able to go up 20-16 before putting the set away and taking a 1-0 lead.
With the momentum squarely in their corner, Catawba Ridge started the second set strong and went up 5-2 as Eastside took another timeout to try and regroup.
The timeout didn’t work as the Copperheads again surged ahead and continued to pull away with well placed shots against the Eagles. Eastside tried to stay close and keep it within striking distance, but could never come close enough to tie the set as Catawba Ridge went up 2-0.
Catawba Ridge got off to a good start again in the third set, but this time Eastside clawed their way back in the match to tie it at 6. The two teams traded points until Eastside pulled ahead 18-12 keeping the Copperheads at arm’s length for the remaining part of the set.
After winning the third set, Eastside started well in the fourth set, but it was the Copperheads with the rally this time around tying the match at 7. The fourth set was more competitive as Eastside wouldn’t allow Catawba Ridge to pull away like it had in previous sets until the Copperheads went on a seven-point run to go up 19-12.
With a command of the fourth set in hand, the Copperheads sensed victory as they were able to continue to hold serve and pull away for the win.
“When we lose, we have a growth mindset,” Lisee said. “They have done a great job. We will enjoy the win and will go back to work.”
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep