BIGGERSVILLE • In his first year as head coach at Hickory Flat, Adam Mauney thought his team could make another deep run in the postseason.
After defeating Biggersville in straight sets (25-16, 25-18, 25-11) in the second round of the Class 1A volleyball playoffs on Thursday night, the Lady Rebels are proving him right.
The win advances Hickory Flat (18-7), last year’s state runner-up, to next Tuesday’s 1A North finals against Ingomar.
“We knew from the very beginning how good they were. We lost two good seniors, but we knew we could still come back and finish up on what we fell short on last year,” said Mauney.
The product the Lady Rebels delivered in the first two sets against Biggersville (9-11) wasn’t quite what Mauney had hoped to see, but the team that showed up in the third set certainly was.
The Lady Lions opened a 3-1 lead early in the third, then Hickory Flat answered with a 7-1 run, capped by a pair of aces from libero Dixie Ware to double up Biggersville 8-4 and force a timeout.
Later, up 10-6, the Lady Rebels finally found their groove on their attacks with repeated sets from Abby Tatum leading to four Emma Wilson kills as part of a 9-0 run to run away with the match-sealing set.
Wilson finished with a team-high 14 kills, with six coming in the final set. Tatum had 17 assists on the night.
“It was just confidence,” Mauney said of the better play in the third. “They won the first two and they were ready to get it over with.”
Biggersville’s self-inflicted errors cost it any chance in the first set, committing a combination of 16 errors that led directly to points for Hickory Flat.
“It really hurt us because we were within a couple points, and that spread us out even more, and then we were never really able to catch up,” Biggersville head coach Brandon Nash said.
The Lady Rebels had 28 kills and 13 service aces as a team. Camri Westmoreland added six kills, while Ware led with four aces. Four other players had two aces apiece.
Biggersville had 19 kills and four aces. Leileigh Moody and Marlee McCalister led with five kills apiece.