Nation Ford’s Ainsley Marion goes to push the ball over during the Falcons first round match against Byrnes. Photo by Rob Upton

It wasn’t smooth sailing as it has normally been, but the Nation Ford volleyball team overcame some speedbumps and managed to defeat Byrnes 3-0 to open the 2020 5A state playoffs.

Nation Ford won 25-14, 25-22, 25-15, but trailed a lot in the second set. They will now travel to TL Hanna in Anderson on Thursday for a second-round match up. The two teams have already played twice this season splitting matches. The Falcons improved 23-2 overall.

“There are no easy games,” said Falcons’ head coach Carrie Christian. “It’s good we were tested. It makes us stronger.”

In the first set, Nation Ford jumped out to a 13-7 lead when Byrnes took a time out. Coming out of the time out, Nation Ford kept the pressure on Byrnes as they pulled away.

In the second set, Byrnes jumped out to a 12-4 lead forcing Nation Ford into a time out as they struggled in the early going of that set. However, slowly, the Falcons started chipping away before tying the set up at 19. Nation Ford would score the next four points to again pull away and to go up 2-0.

In the third set, Byrnes again started strong, but Nation Ford stayed with them early on before taking an 8-6 lead. Once the Falcons grabbed the lead, they never looked back and went on to go up 16-12 and then 20-14 before closing it out scoring five of the next six points.

In the 4A classification, Catawba Ridge lost 3-0 to Eastside falling 25-17, 25-14, 25-23. The Copperheads ended their season with a 10-9-3 record.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep