Catawba Ridge’s Marissa Fakes goes for a kill during the Copperheads second round playoff match against Irmo Tuesday. Photos by Rob Upton

After dropping the first set of their second round 4A state playoff match-up against the Irmo Yellow Jackets, Catawba Ridge head coach Alicia Lisee told her team to play how they know best.

“What we fell in to is playing outside ourselves,” Lisee said. “We started fighting back and our dominance showed. We were on top by the end of the night.”

Catawba Ridge rallied to win 3-1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-17, 25-18) and will now host Lugoff-Elgin Thursday in the third round of the playoffs.  The Copperheads are now 23-9 on the season.

Irmo and the Copperheads opened the first set battling as the Yellow Jackets took a 16-12 lead about midway through. Catawba Ridge finally found a groove and tied the set at 18-18 and the two teams started to trade points for the rest of the set. However, the momentum was in Irmo’s corner as they scored the final two points of the set after a time out to take the opening set.

Lisee said the slow start made it hard for her team to rally in the opening set. The three-minute break between the sets was enough to allow them to regroup. 

Catawba Ridge opened up the second set and controlled play from nearly the opening serve going up 12-3 early on. Irmo would pull within seven at 16-9, but never really challenged the Copperheads in the second set, as Catawba Ridge sped to a 25-14 win to tie the match at 1-1.

With momentum clearly in their corner, Catawba Ridge was able to open the third set, but Irmo wasn’t going to roll over. The Yellow Jackets battled back to tie the third set at 8-8, before another surge from the Copperheads. Catawba Ridge scored three straight points and opened a wide enough gap to hold off Irmo and take a 20-17 lead. They extended the lead to 23-17 before getting a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-17 win in the set. 

Irmo battled the Copperheads closely about midway through the fourth set after Catawba Ridge was able to jump out to a 11-5 start. Irmo then scored six consecutive points to tie the set at 11-11 forcing the Copperheads to take a time out.

The two teams battled out of the time out before Catawba Ridge took a slight 18-17 lead and Irmo took a time out. Coming out of the break, the Copperheads scored four of the next five points to go up 22-18 and finish the match off with a 25-18 fourth set win.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

The Copperheads’ Ariel Bryant defends the net in Tuesday’s playoff match against Irmo.