There may not have been a championship at stake, as has been the case when Laurens Academy and Wardlaw have met in competition many times over the years, but the Crusaders still walked away from Thursday night’s volleyball match with a new spring in their step.
Madison Sherman had 12 sets, 12 kills, six aces and six digs, Payton Breen added 11 digs and eight kills, and the Katelyn Suttles had 15 sets, five digs, and four aces, all helping lead the Crusaders to a four-set victory over the visiting Patriots in Laurens. Set scores were 25-10, 25-18, 22-25, 25-18.
Laurens Academy looked on its way to closing out the match without too much trouble in the fourth set when it ran off eight straight points and built a 21-9 lead, but the Patriots had one last stand in them and rallied back to within five on two occasions. Any hopes of a desperation comeback by the Patriots, however, ended when Emily Suttles got a kill to secure a side out and Sherman followed with an ace on match point to close out the victory.
“We just really stayed focus and decided we wanted to win,” said LA Head Coach Shannon McGee.
The Crusaders looked primed to win the match in a sweep with how the first set and a half had gone. LA had trailed 4-1 in the opening set before running off a 14-2 run and put the set well out of reach, then had built a 14-4 lead in the second before a rotation violation gave Wardlaw a side out. It appeared to be an innocuous moment in the match, but soon after the Patriots rallied themselves with a 10-2 run of their own to get within two.
LA closed out the set with the help of a 7-2 run to go up two sets, but the comeback by the Patriots eventually laid the groundwork for the third set. The Patriots dug every key ball out and kept rallied alive long enough to get their own attacks going, and took advantage of a host of LA mistakes at the same time, to help rally from down 17-14 in the third to win the set and extend the match – if only for one more set.
Emily Abercrombie added six digs to help support the back row success from Suttles and Breen.
Clinton 6, Emerald 0: Clinton was dominant in its victory over Emerald, losing two games out of 74 contested.
Chandler Dailey (No. 2 singles), Gracie Spangler (No. 3), Reese Gowan (No. 4) and Jerri Hill (No. 5) all won 6-0, 6-0, while Mary Catherine Dailey (No. 1) and the team of Kaitey Threatt and Grace Johnson (No. 2 doubles) each won 6-0, 6-1.
Clinton (5-1 overall, 4-0 Region 3-3A) takes part in the Hall of Fame Classic this weekend at Belton.
Laurens 14, Greenwood 6: The Laurens JV football team went on the road and improved its mark to 3-1 on the season, 2-0 in region play, by topping the Eagles.
James Rawl had a 1-yard touchdown run and Jay Pulley caught a touchdown pass for the Raiders, but it was a Waldrick Burnside block on a Cayson Elledge run that helped give the team a spark. Sion Hunter also had a key pass break-up in the end zone that ended the game.
Laurens returns to action Thursday at Westside.
Clinton 38, Pendleton 6: The Red Devils wrapped non-region play at 4-1 with a one-sided victory over Pendleton.
Austin Copeland threw for three touchdowns, two to Wilson Wages and one to Justin Copeland, Bryson James rushed for one touchdown, and Kewain Farrow returned an interception for a touchdown, all to help Clinton’s cause.
Clinton faces Union County Thursday.