(2008 - 2009) - Volleyball - Varsity

vs. Hillcrest WIN 25-19,25-23,25-21,

Date: Oct. 23, 2008
Time: 06:30 PM
Location: Hillcrest High School



Photo credit Gwinn Davis




After a disappointing loss to Byrnes in 4 at home Tuesday the Lady Mavs Varsity Volleyball team traveled across town to Arch-Rival Hillcrest Home Court to face the Lady Rams in a Match that would decide who would finish 2nd in the region. Mauldin had not defeated Hillcrest on their court in 12 years, but needed a win to avoid a 4th place region finish and live up to their 2008 season slogan, penned by Coach Christy Plecha... "Redefining the Region.
It was Senior night at Hillcrest, so after a delayed start, Game One began surprisingly with Hillcrest a bit flat and Mauldin on fire as the Lady Mavs were led by Senior captain Rachel Woodlee who had 8 Kills in the opening game. The Mauldin defense was up to the task with 3 digs recorded by 5 different players - Senior Co-Captain Jordan Bowling, Sophomore Libero Dana Landers, Senior Setter Haley Register, Junior Setter Kimberly Minor, and Sophomore Hitter Heather Granger. Excellent assists were set by Register and Junior Kim Minor to fuel the attack which, besides Woodlee's dominance, included Bowling and Granger with 2 Kills each and Senior Alex "Penguin" Evans with 3 kills in the first frame. Blocks by Bowling and Granger cemented the effort in the first game , won by the Lady Mavs who rarely trailed 25-19.
Game Two saw Legendary Hillcrest coach Lynn Avant change defensive strategy and exhort her team to concentrate on their blocking of the Mauldin attack, the focus on Lady Mav senior middle hitter, Rachel Woodlee who would see 2-3 blockers in front of her for the remainder of the match. The scoring opened with an Kill by Hillcrest freshman sensation Kylie Haun against the Lady Mavs. A couple of minutes and points later Haun Aced the Maverick defense to make the score 3-4. Senior Alex, "the Lefty Closer" Evans then slammed a set from Jordan Stovall to tie the score at 4. A minute later Junior setter Minor assisted Granger and Bowling on successive points for Kills to see the Mavs take the lead 7-6. Hillcrest stormed back, determined not to let the game and match get away, and went on a 2-5 pointrun to re-take the lead before a Woodlee Block found the Rams floor to make it 10-11. After Ram Coach Avant protested a clearly accurate lift call and was awarded a yellow-card, Evans recorded a Kill from a Register set to knot the score at 13. After a Hillcrest point from a Mauldin error, Bowling pointed an overpass to a vacant spot on the Rams side of the net for a kill and a score of 14-14. Hillcrest Coach Avant continued to push her luck
with the officials, even getting one call reversed, as the score kept knotting until it was 17-17. Her counterpart , Mauldin Coach Christy Plecha was a rock of calm and encouragement for her team, even in the face of a 3 point service run by the lady Rams that made it 17-20. Senior Leaper Bowling killed a Hillcrest Overpass to end the service run and Granger answered with a 3 point service run of her own re-knot the score at 20. Long rallies ensued with Landers pacing the Mauldin defense and Jordan Bowling responding to Hillcrest's focus on Woodlee with Kills that would answer the Hillcrest attack and tie the score at 21 and 22.   The other Jordan (Stovall) then smashed a crosscourt Kill off a Register set
to make it 23-22. After an exchange of points with the determined Hillcrest team, Bowling pounded a set from Minor to get to game point 24-23 and put herself at the service line. The senior co-captain then drilled an Ace to finalize game 2 25-23 in favor of the Lady Mavs to the exuberant cheers of the numerous Mauldin faithful who made the cross-town jaunt 25-23.
With Bowling and Stovall having taken over the offensive attack for Mauldin while Woodlee was occupying two Lady Ram blockers, Hillcrest coach Avant could only find criticism of her backline defense for the two game deficit they found themselves in as Game Three got underway. Maybe her emphasis struck a nerve in her young but athletic team as the Lady Rams forced errors on the excitable Lady Mavs and went out to a quick 0-8 lead. Stovall then smashed a Kill into the teeth of the Ram defense and Woodlee followed with a scoring block to start the scoring for the ladies in White and Orange at 2-8. After a few long rallies ended in side-outs for both sides, Stovall pounded a scrambling set from Woodlee to make the score 4-10, putting Woodlee on the service line. Woodlee responded with an 8 point service run aided by 2 Alex "Blonde Bomber" Evans Kills to knot the score at 11 when the Captain's service was finally broken. Furious and exciting rallies were in evidence as neither side could make a run and the score teetered and notched up at 13 all, 14 all. Junior Melissa Unger contributed a Kill off a Minor set to make it 15-14 before Woodlee pounded 2 kills from Register sets to make it 18-16. Woodlee then Aced the Hillcrest squad to make it 19-16 and let the boisterous Mauldin faithful smell a sweep. The Lady Rams would not go down easily as they fought back to 20-18. Senior defensive specialist Tiffany Smith gave the Lady Mavs an impressive lift at this point in the match with 6 almost consecutive Game Three digs to compliment an equal number of saves and digs by Landers. The points were then recorded by Stovall with a Kill and Woodlee with a block during a 3 point service run by Minor to see the Lady Mavs take control of the game 23-18. The Lady Rams refused to quit in their house and fought back with offensive pressure and an Ace to make it 23-21 before Junior Middle Blocker Unger pushed a Kill to an open part of the Hillcrest defense to make it 24-21and the Red-headed Sophomore sensation, Heather Granger,> blocked a Lady ram attack back off of the hitter and out-of-bounds to close the game and match for the Lady Mavs 25-21.
With this exciting and unfortunately historic win (according to a Hillcrest statistician, Mauldin had not beaten the Lady Rams at Hillcrest nor swept the Rams in volleyball in 12 years before Thursday night - another Giant slain ! ), the Mauldin Varsity Volleyball team secured second place in the region behind Dorman with a 7-3 record. Hillcrest, with this loss, finishes the regular season with an identical record but loses the tiebreaker based on head-to-head results against Mauldin and will represent Region 2 as the/a third seed in the district and Upstate tournament. By virtue of its second place region finish, Coach Christy Plecha's Lady Mavs will next play at home versus the Region 1 3rd place finisher (rumor has it that this will be the Wren Golden Hurricanes) in the state tournament on Tuesday October 28th at 6:00 pm. Also in the district bracket are likely Region 3 fourth place finisher Clover or Gaffney and Region 4 champion and #6 ranked Rock Hill or #8 state ranked Blythewood - one of these schools being the likely site of Thursday's district final if the Lady Mavs can dispose of the Region 1 challenger on Tuesday. The Hillcrest Lady Rams will also be a participant in the same half of the upstate playoff bracket, as likely will Rock Hill's Northwestern Lady Vikings ...of interest if or when the Lady Mavs advance beyond the districts and into the Upstate semi-finals the first week of November.
Congratulations to Coach Christy Plecha and the Lady Mavs Varsity Volleyball team for "redefining" their region and finishing in second place after an impressive regular season of 59-26 game and 22-7 match records. These marks are the best in memory at Mauldin High School for the volleyball program, but are hopefully only a starting point in a run for the state championship starting next week - Go Mavs !!!




> R. Woodlee  37      265         3             98            67
> D. Landers    4        28        19               -           441
> H. Register  15          -       341               -           80
> K.Minor       26        5        313              -             75
> J.Bowling   35      179          7           33          133
> H. Granger 41        87        10          21          95
> J. Stovall     4      110         23          40          67
> A. Evans      2      114         8           38          34
> T. Smith      2         7          3           -           93
> M. Unger     7       37          2           30          21
> M. Gregg    2         5          3           5           10
> K. Whitten -           -           8           -           3



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