WINNSBORO — Richard Winn’s Lady Eagle volleyball team soared to an impressive 17-6 overall record before their “dream flight” was cut short in the post season playoffs. Ironically, five of their losses were to the two teams in their own region that ended up battling it out for the state championship title. In the end, the Lady Warriors of Spartanburg Christian reigned supreme over the Lady Griffins of Spartanburg Day to three-peat as the 2013 SCISA AA State Champion.
Prior to playing their final home match of the regular season on Oct. 15, RWA seniors Carson Justice and Sarah Grier Thompson and their parents were honored. The girls and their family members were introduced to take the center court stage and were then presented with gifts of roses, mini autographed volleyballs, and photo collages from their remaining teammates. A reception for them followed the match in the school’s cafeteria.
The Lady Eagles began their final match fighting back emotions of the senior night ceremony and got off to a sluggish start in game one. Even though there were some bright spots for the Lady Eagles in the second and third games, the SCA players were just too consistent and continued their dominance, winning the match in three straight games, 25-11, 25-13, and 25-15. The Lady Warriors traveled back to Spartanburg with an unblemished region record, the region title, and a number one seeding heading in the state playoffs at the end of that same week.
Richard Winn was pitted against St. Andrews Academy of Savannah, Ga., in round one of the SCISA AA playoffs on Oct. 18. RWA controlled the game tempo and scoreboard from the first serve and defeated the Lady Lions, 25-12, 25-18, in the best of three games to advance to the next round.
The Lady Raiders of Holly Hill Academy were the Lady Eagles’ round two opponents. Even though the Holly Hill team was seeded higher, the Lady Eagles proved themselves the better team. RWA sent the Lady Raiders into the losers’ bracket by winning the tie-breaking third game of the match, 25-16, 21-25, 25-17.
As one of four undefeated teams remaining in the Upper State winners’ bracket, Richard Winn found themselves matched up next against a familiar foe, region opponent Spartanburg Day School. Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, however, the Lady Griffins dominated once again, 25-11 and 25-14, to send the RWA team into the Lower State loser’s bracket in Saturday afternoon’s tourney competition.
RWA’s next opponents were the Lady Eagles of Mt. Pleasant’s Palmetto Christian Academy, and it was win or go home for both teams. The Winnsboro girls opened play with a bang and certainly appeared to be the superior team, winning the first game easily, 25-14. However, in games two and three the momentum swung in favor of the other Lady Eagle team, and RWA was eliminated from further tournament advancement, 17-25 and 11-25, thus ending their 2013 season.
From the previous six-win season, second year head coach Callie Sims worked the 10-member squad hard in the off season to build team camaraderie and to raise the skill level in making the Richard Winn volleyball program stronger and better. It would appear that all that hard work and extra energy paid off as the girls’ skills and overall performance vastly improved from one season to the next as evidence of their final record. However, that ultimate prize of a state championship still eludes the Richard Winn volleyball program and will always be a top goal to set as each new season begins.