Coastal 3A News
October 23, 2013D H Conley High School
There wasn’t a lot of fanfare or crowd noise accompanying D.H. Conley’s state playoff volleyball match against Pinecrest on Tuesday, which befits the Vikings’ businesslike style of play.
Conley remained unbeaten this season after breezing past the visiting Patriots 25-8, 25-4, 25-20 in the second round of the 4-A postseason. The match lasted a little less than an hour and the Vikings (26-0) benefitted from a pair of huge runs in the first two sets before fending off Pinecrest (14-13) in a suprisingly close third game.
“You expect teams to play their hardest until that last point is on the scoreboard,” DHC coach Jennifer Gillikin said. “We’re in one of those situations where, you win, you continue; you lose, it’s over. I was not expecting (the Patriots) to sit back on their heels and let us dominate the third set.”
Conley will host Pine Forest in the fourth round on Thursday.
Game 1 was competitive early and Pinecrest led 7-6 before the Vikings, with Madison Maloney serving, reeled off a remarkable 19-1 run and won the game on a Brittney Beaulieu kill.
The second set turned into a blowout quickly. Two consecutive Jennifer Shirley aces gave the Vikes a commanding 16-2 lead and the game ended shortly thereafter when the Patriots hit the ball out of bounds on game point.
Led by Olivia McKinney, the Patriots hung with Conley throughout the third set. Pinecrest pulled to within 20-18 on a Devin Lally kill, but a quick 5-2 Vikings’ spurt capped by a Shirley kill ended the game and match.
Kalee Vanderhorst led Conley with nine kills and Kori Adams turned in a solid match with 17 assists and five kills.
While her team has had a pretty easy run of things so far in the playoffs, Gillikin said she isn’t taking anything for granted.
“We actually try to focus on the next point,” Gillikin said. “We try not to look at 25. We really build five, 10, 15, five-point increments just to help keep them focused. Each point is important.”
— Tony Castleberry