GREER – A fifth set rally by the Catawba Ridge Copperheads allowed them to knock off the top seeded Riverside Warriors 3-2 to advance to the 4A Upper State Championship next week.
The Copperheads won the third-round match 25-23, 12-25, 25-20, 16-25, 16-14 and improved to 18-10-3 overall on the season.
With the match tied at 2-2, Riverside opened the fifth set scoring first. The two teams then started trading points as they did for much of the match.
The Copperheads grabbed a small 5-3 lead, but the Warriors came back and took an 8-6 lead. The Warriors continued to pull away as they went up 12-8, but the Copperheads rallied to tie it at 13-13.
Catawba Ridge hit two consecutive aces at the end of the set to win the match and advance to the Upper State championship Tuesday, Oct. 31 where they will travel to South Aiken.
“They played out of their mind,” said Catawba Ridge head coach Alicia Lisee. “I told them they had to want it. They had to dig or die. They are a gritty team.”
The Copperheads jumped out to a strong 7-3 lead to open the first set. Catawba Ridge was strong at the net in the early going hammering the ball for kills.
Riverside wasn’t a push over keeping the opening set close and stayed within about three points for most of the set. The Warriors scored three consecutive points to take a 13-12 lead as the Copperheads called a timeout to refocus.
Out of the timeout, the two teams started trading points going back and forth without one team getting a big advantage.
Catawba Ridge went up 24-23 which again prompted a timeout, this time by Riverside, which to no avail as the Copperheads came out to score the next point and win the first set.
The Warriors opened the second set strong going up 10-4 early as the Copperheads took a timeout.
Riverside continued to make the adjustment they needed and started pulling away in the second set getting to balls they didn’t in the first set as they went up 15-9. Riverside forced Catawba Ridge into another time out leading 18-10, before finishing off the set to tie the match at 1-1.
Riverside opened the third set just as strong with momentum still in their corner. However, the Copperheads would not go quietly.
Both sides again started trading points with neither team finding that next gear. The Copperheads took a two-point lead at 10-8 off a deflection and was able to start putting together a string of points to get a 13-9 lead before a Riverside timeout. Catawba Ridge was able to maintain a small four-point differential for most of the set as the Warriors struggled to catch up.
The Copperheads went up 20-14 as Riverside took their second timeout of the set and Catawba Ridge came out afterwards to put the set away taking a 2-1 lead.
Riverside again adjusted and opened the fourth set starting 5-1. The Copperheads stormed back to tie the set at 7 and then moved ahead to take a small lead. The Warriors had a rally left in them as well as they jumped ahead 15-11 before a Catawba Ridge timeout.
Riverside kept the momentum and the small lead as the Copperheads struggled to keep pace. Riverside scored the final six out of seven points to even the match at two sets a piece.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @fortprep