Nation Ford’s Adeline Mezzanotte goes up for a block against Fort Mill during their season opener at Nation Ford.
Photo by Rob Upton

The Nation Ford Falcons picked up in 2020 right where they left off in 2019.

Coming off back-to-back 5A state titles, Nation Ford opened the season sweeping rival Fort Mill 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-13).

Despite the score, the match was close in all three sets in the early going, but the Falcons were able to pull away as the set progressed. Nation Ford head coach Carrie Christian said her team is still trying to get their bearings. The match was the first for each school, as they were able to open practice just two weeks ago due to limitations placed on them because of the coronavirus.

“We still are figuring things out,” Christian said. “We came out a little nervous but we figured it out. We got our confidence in the second set.”

In the opening set, Nation Ford scored the first point of the match, but Fort Mill rallied to take a 4-2 lead. The Falcons then surged ahead after the set was tied at 5-5 to score seven consecutive points and go up 12-5, despite a Fort Mill time out during the scoring streak to try and cool Nation Ford’s momentum.

Fort Mill battled back in the opening set, but wasn’t able to pull within striking distance as Nation Ford would go up 19-11, before closing it out 25-17 to take the first set.

The Jackets again started the set off going up 2-0 against Nation Ford in the second set, but again the Falcons got on a roll scoring five straight points.

The two teams traded the lead several times and tied things up at 11, before Nation Ford decisively pulled ahead to go up 21-15 forcing Fort Mill into another time out.

Coming out of the time out the Falcons would outscore Fort Mill 4-1 to take the set and a 2-0 lead in the match.

The final set again saw a tight match through the first 14 points, with the two teams going back and forth to tie the set up at 7-7. Nation Ford then pulled ahead 10-7 and never gave up the lead again. The Falcons got stronger in the third set seeing the finish line and won the third set 25-13 scoring 15 of the last 21 points of the match.

“I definitely think we see as a team where we can continue to improve and execute on serve receive,” said Fort Mill head coach Kelly Jones. “But I’m happy to be able to use the whole team to compete. I’ll give it to Nafo, they have some great returners stepping up to the plate. I’ll be excited for the next time we play when we have gotten more of the season under our belts.”

Up next for Nation Ford is a match at Boiling Springs Sept. 10 and then home Sept. 15 against Gaffney. For Fort Mill, the Jackets play against Clover Sept. 10 and then against York Sept. 15, both at home.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep