Volleyball notches playoff victory

Published 12:44 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Davie’s varsity volleyball team looked a bit wobbly in the first set of the first-round match of the state playoffs at South Iredell, but the War Eagles settled down and got over the five-set hump.

The War Eagles were 0-3 in five-set battles this season, including a 3-2 loss to West Forsyth in the Central Piedmont Conference tournament semifinals at East Forsyth on Oct. 17.

In the CPCT first round on Oct. 16 at Davie, the War Eagles overwhelmed the 6-17 Glenn Bobcats, seeded seventh. No. 2 Davie cruised by scores of 25-10, 25-7, 25-4. Davie had finished the regular season in a three-way tie for second, and it received the two seed in a drawing with West Forsyth (3) and East Forsyth (4).

One day later at East, Davie took on West and had flashbacks to Aug. 31, when it lost 3-2 to East Forsyth, and Oct. 5, when it lost 3-2 to West.

The third narrow loss of the season was 28-26, 14-25, 25-21, 16-25, 13-15.

The Titans improved to 17-7 by eliminating Davie, but their “reward” was a matchup against Reagan in the final. The league’s behemoth won in three sets to run its record to 33-0. It was Reagan’s 24th victory in three sets out of 26 tries. The Raiders had won 78 of 80 sets in best-of-five matches.

Davie 3, SI 2

Four days later in Statesville, it wasn’t the smoothest ride, but Davie overcame the emotional scars from West Forsyth, overcame a slow start against South Iredell and ultimately came away with a satisfying win in the first round of the 4-A playoffs.

Davie (16-7) is seeded 17th in the West Region; No. 16 South closed with a 15-12 record after finishing third in its conference.

Led by Mikaylah Hutton, Davie stepped up its play after dropping the first set and won the second set 25-20.

“We finally started getting it together towards the end of the second,” coach Amber Brandon said. “Mikaylah went on a huge serving run at the end of the second to give us some life.”

It was a rollercoaster, though, as Davie faltered in the third set to put its back against the wall.

“We got stuck in a rotation midway through that we couldn’t get out of,” Brandon said.

In the fourth set, Davie stayed alive by getting major contributions from Mallorie Brown, Emma Willard and Addison Wilson.

“We got an early lead in the fourth thanks to a serving run from Mallorie that we kept throughout the majority of the set,” she said. “Emma had some really big digs. Addison had some tough swings in big moments.”

Lauren O’Connor saved the day in the fifth set.

“We got off to a slow start in the fifth, and then Lauren had a good serving run that got us back in it,” she said. “She had a great match offensively and had a few big digs in the fourth and fifth at important times.”

Carly Crouch also provided heroics as Davie achieved its first playoff win since a 3-1 decision over South Iredell in 2021’s second round. “Carly was the offensive leader. She pretty much scored at will when we were in system.”

Davie upped its record to 16-7, the seventh time it’s won at least that many matches in Brandon’s nine years as coach.  “Not (bad) in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year when everyone had us counted out,” she said.