No. 14 New Bern 3 No. 3 Hoggard 1
(25-22, 7-25, 25-17, 27-25)
With a two games to one lead, 14th ranked New Bern looked to be heading to a decisive fifth set, but the Bears overcame a nine-point deficit in the fourth to send third-seeded Hoggard home for the season following a 27-25 victory to claim a 3-1 win at James Hebbe Gymnasium on Tuesday.
The victory sends New Bern to the third round of the 4A playoffs, while the Vikings close the year 14-3 overall as Mideastern Conference Champions.
“Mistakes really cost us tonight,” said Hoggard Coach Ron Strickland. “Take nothing away from New Bern. They played really, really well and played much better defense than what I was led to believe. They throw it up and hit it and that works. We had our moments tonight, but made mistakes and got tight at the end.”
Hoggard had their backs against the wall heading into the fourth set and scored the first eight points of the game thanks to a big effort by Kirby Smith. The senior had two blocks and one kill during the early push as the Vikings gained a 13-5 advantage following an ace by Logan Smith. A set from Logan Smith to Carolyn Davidson made it 21-12 before a service error helped spark New Bern’s rally.
The Bears went on a 10-1 push from that point and eventually took their first lead of the game before both teams were issued net violations to make it 24-all. Faith Handford played an enormous role in the attack for the visitors and finished with 10 kills.
Hoggard regained the lead for a moment at 25-24, but Mariah Warner had a block for New Bern and an attacking error by the Vikings on the next possession gave the Bears match point. Avery Davis ultimately hammered home the kill to clinch the match off an assist from Kjersti Solter to take the game, 27-25.
“Our whole thing going into this game was we’re the underdogs and have nothing to lose,” said New Bern Coach Heidi Griffee. “We’re a better team when we swing and we finally starting swinging in that fourth set. We started to believe and talked about opportunities to be great or average. We’ve been focusing on taking care of the ball and playing our game and we did that tonight.”
Davis closed with 10 kills and nine service points for the Bears, while Jenna Seagle recorded 20 assists.
The opening set saw 11 ties and 13 lead changes before the Bears grabbed a 25-22 result.
Hoggard came out firing in the second game and jumped out to a 7-0 advantage before a service error gave New Bern its first point. Kirby Smith started to gain traction in the attack with five kills in the set. Following a good play by Madie Schider to keep the volley alive, Logan Smith set her younger sister for the kill and 16-3 edge, which ultimately led to a 25-7 victory to level the match at one game apiece.
Camille Whitlock and Logan Smith tallied a combined 31 assists for Hoggard, while Kirby Smith finished with 18 kills.
“We run a lot of stuff and if you’re not passing it doesn’t work,” Strickland added. “I feel like we beat ourselves more than they beat us, but they played well and needed too in order to win so you have to give them a ton of credit for coming to play tonight.”
Meagan Trotta added eight kills for the Vikings and Madie Schider recorded 20 digs in the defensive effort.
Game three was evenly contested through the early stages until a 5-1 spurt by the Bears gave New Bern a little breathing room as Solter displayed a strong serve to get to set point before Davis hammered home a strong left hand to take the 2-1 advantage heading into the fourth game.
No. 8 Topsail 3 No. 9 C.B. Aycock 1
(23-25, 25-20, 25 22, 25 17)
Topsail rebounded after dropping the opening set to grab a 3-1 victory over C.B. Aycock to advance to the third round of the 3A playoffs.
The result was Coach Hill Pearsall’s 301st career victory as Payton Schoenleber led the attack with 12 kills, 11 service points, five aces and 21 assists. Angelica Biele also recorded 16 assists and nine kills, while Marlee Marrotta led the defense with 25 digs.
The Pirates improved to 13-8 overall and face top-seeded Cedar Ridge (22-3) on Thursday.
No. 12 Eastern Randolph 3 No. 28 North Brunswick 0
(25-22, 25-16, 25-13)
NCISAA 2A Playoffs
(25-22, 24-26, 25-16, 25-19)
The Lady Cents fought hard in a season ending 3-1 setback to Harrell’s Christian. Middle hitter Julia Masters led Coastal Christian with 12 kills and six blocks. Masters hit .500 on the night, a season high, while Callie Weaver had 37 digs. Anna Grace Holdford dished out 34 assists and had a career high nine kills.
Harrells plays the two-seed, Caldwell Academy, on Friday.