Host Midway battled its way into the 2-A eastern regional final with a 3-1 win over No. 4 Whiteville in the fourth round of the NCHSAA volleyball playoffs Saturday. Individual set scores were 25-21, 16-25, 25-23 and 25-23.
“The second set we lost, I could see spirit gone,” said Midway coach Susan Clark. “And they really had to dig deep to get back on track. Little things can tweak you and this crowd, it was a little much for them tonight. And playing on a Saturday, you’ve got all day to think about it. You’re not in school. It can be a little overwhelming coming in. But they did great.”
Freshman Kaedyn Moran had the best performance of her young career to lead the Raiders (26-0). She tallied a match-high 18 kills, one assist, a match-high five blocks, six digs and one ace.
“Kaedyn really stepped up on the net tonight,” Clark said. “Swinging. Blocking. Just seeing the floor and putting it where it needed to be. And she kept us fired up. To be one of the younger ones on the team, she had a lot of enthusiasm. She did an awesome job. I’m very proud of her. That’s something that comes in time, but she has come a long way this season.”
Junior Morgan Hall had 15 kills, four blocks and five digs and held serve for two points, senior Blair Baggett had a double-double, with 15 kills, one block and 14 digs, and held serve for seven points, junior Morgan Naylor had a double-double, with a match-high 33 assists and 13 digs, and held serve for one point and junior McKenzie Williams had six assists, 26 digs and one ace on five service points to also lead Midway.
Bella Barefoot had nine kills and seven digs. Morgan Williams had six kills and eight digs and held serve for 14 points. Kasey Calcutt had two kills and four digs. Jaycie Byrd had one kill, 23 assists, eight digs and one ace on five service points. Mallory Baggett had four digs. Samantha Carter had one dig.
Clark said everyone on the team contributed to the win, even the players on the bench.
“All of them on the bench were calling plays,” Clark said. “They were calling tips, rolls and spots.”
Senior Ashley Hester had 14 kills, one block and three aces on 13 service points, sophomore Serenity Harvey had 10 kills and four blocks and senior Kayla Jerman had 22 assists and one ace on six service points to lead the Wolfpack (21-3).
Whiteville held a 12-8 lead in the first set when a Hall kill, assisted by Naylor, sparked a 7-0 Midway run to take the lead. Holding a 22-21 lead late in the set, the Raiders took the set with back-to-back kills from Morgan Williams and Blair Baggett, both assisted by Naylor, followed by a block from Hall.
With the score tied 4-4 early in the second set, Whiteville took control with five unanswered points and led the rest of the set.
Whiteville opened the third set on an 8-2 run. With the Wolfpack leading 12-8, a Hall kill, assisted by Byrd, started Midway on a 5-1 run to tie the set 13-13. Midway later held set point at 24-23 when Moran ended the set with a kill, assisted by Naylor.
The fourth set was closely contested throughout. With the score tied 23-23, Midway ended the match with a Moran block and a Barefoot kill, assisted by McKenzie Williams.
In addition to a trip to the state championship, payback is on the line for Midway in the regional final Tuesday. The Raiders host defending regional champion No. 2 Camden County (24-2), which eliminated Midway 3-0 at Camden in the fourth round of the playoffs last season. The winner advances to the state championship match against the winner of West No. 1 McMichael (35-3) and No. 3 Brevard (23-5).
“Honestly, we have looked one game at a time,” Clark said. “But this is what we wanted the whole time was to be able to face off again with Camden County and bring them to our home court.”