ROEBUCK – Nation Ford head volleyball coach Craig Brown talked about legacy a lot this season and making sure this year’s team left one. While they came up short Thursday in round three of the 5A playoffs, Brown said the team left their mark.
“The legacy they left is undeniable,” he said, after the 3-0 loss to the Dorman Cavaliers on the road. “It is hard to say what this group means.”
Nation Ford finished the season at 29-10-1 and was on a 16-match win streak, not counting the tie that came in the middle of that streak during the Wando tournament. The Falcons beat Dorman earlier in the season at a tournament, but things were different Thursday, as the Cavaliers had home court advantage in their arena.
The Falcons jumped out to a good start in the opening set and went up 11-5 forcing Dorman into a time out. However, after the time out the Cavaliers started chipping away at the Nation Ford lead. Nation Ford held a 23-19 lead and was even one point away from taking the set at 24-22, but took a time out. Dorman came out of the time out with momentum in their corner and put the Falcons on their heels taking the first set 28-26.
Craig said momentum was big in the first set and caused a big shift in the match. He added it hurt not taking advantage of the opportunities when they presented themselves.
“We didn’t grab it when we had it,” he said. “A place like this (Dorman) you can’t do that. You can’t let it slip.”
After taking the opening set, Nation Ford started well in the second set, but Dorman quickly rallied and went ahead 7-5. The Cavaliers’ lead would be the last one they would take as they never trailed again in the match.
From there, Dorman pushed the pace and went up 17-12, and while Nation Ford stayed within striking distance, they couldn’t make a run to really get back in the set. The Falcons took a time out trailing 20-15 and Dorman again came out strong to score five of the next six points to win the second set 25-16.
Dorman opened the third set 6-1 as Nation Ford struggled with returns and would often launch the ball out off the back of the court. The Falcons also struggled giving up too much open space in the match as Dorman would find little holes to score points in with strong play at the net.
Dorman controlled the third set and eventually forced Nation Ford to take two time outs before getting the 25-12 set win to sweep the Falcons. Dorman will now face Mauldin in the Upper State championship Nov. 1.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep