No. 1 Midway lost a set for the first time since August 29 to visiting No. 16 Seaforth but rallied to win the next three to advance to the second round of the NCHSAA 2-A state volleyball playoffs with a 3-1 victory by scores of 20-25, 25-21, 25-14 and 25-20 on Tuesday night.
“They didn’t play as relaxed and composed as they typically do,” said Midway coach Susan Clark. “During our timeouts, I didn’t have to pump them up, I had to calm them down. They were wired and excited and sometimes that plays to the other side of things. But they kept it together. Our serves were atrocious. But they kept it together and stuck to the game plan and pulled it out.”
Senior Blair Baggett had a double-double, with 14 kills, four assists, 12 digs and two aces on six service points, freshman Kaedyn Moran had nine kills and six digs and held serve for five points and junior Morgan Naylor had one kill, 23 assists and three digs and held serve for five points to lead the Raiders (24-0).
Morgan Hall had six kills, four blocks, three digs and one ace on four service points. Morgan Williams had six kills, nine digs and four aces on 11 service points. Bella Barefoot had six kills and three digs. Jaycie Byrd had five kills, 14 assists, three digs and one ace on 10 service points. Samantha Carter had two kills, one assist and two digs. McKenzie Williams had two assists, 12 digs and one ace on two service points. Mallory Baggett had one dig.
Freshman Keira Rosenmarkle had 11 kills and two blocks, freshman Savanna Gilson had eight kills and sophomore Maris Huneycutt had one kill, 25 assists and two aces on nine service points to lead the Hawks (15-5).
“(Rosenmarkle) is going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Clark said. “She kept us on our toes defensively.”
With the score tied 19-19 in the first set, Seaforth finished the set on a 6-1 run, making the Hawks the first team to win a set against Midway since the Raiders’ 3-1 win at Whiteville on Aug. 29.
Midway opened the second set on a 12-3 run before Seaforth rallied to cut the lead all the way down to two, at 20-18. But the Raiders outscored the Hawks 5-3 down the stretch to take the set and tie the match.
The third set was close early, but with Midway holding a 9-8 lead, a Blair Baggett kill, assisted by Byrd, sparked a 16-6 run for the Raiders to win the set.
The fourth set was tied late at 18-18 when Midway went on a 7-2 run, capped by back-to-back blocks from Hall, to end the match.
“Our girls stayed focused,” Clark said. “They stayed calm and composed and they filled the spots. The whole team. It was a total team effort, mentally and physically.”
Midway is at home against No. 8 Nash Central (19-5) in the third round of the playoffs on Thursday.
“Our goal has been to get to the fourth round and win,” Clark said. “But I’ve not been really looking ahead, because anything can happen at any point in time.”