Check another item off the Chiefs’ to-do list. Saturday afternoon, McIntosh won another area volleyball tournament on their home court as they embark on a push towards a state title. Entering the tourney as the top seed, they beat Fayette County and Whitewater to move into the title match where they beat Starr’s Mill in straight sets in a best of five match.
“It was definitely our goal (to win the area) from the beginning of the season,” said McIntosh coach Wendy Mabon. “I knew we had the potential to do it, and we came out and did exactly what we needed to do today.”
They faced off with the Panthers after they finished off a dominating win over Whitewater in the semifinals. McIntosh eased into the finals after beating Fayette County.
“Starr’s Mill came out ready to play today. They took it to Whitewater,” praised Mabon. “Thankfully, for us, they were not quite as sharp in our game, but they were a good opponent.”
McIntosh took control of the opening set with a strong service run by Olivia Stewart as they stretched out to a 14-4 lead. Starr’s Mill battled back to within 16-12, forcing a Chief timeout to regroup. They did just that and held on for a 25-20 win.
The second set started in similar fashion as the Chiefs raced out to a 10-2 lead and kept piling on. With Piper Dedrick serving, the Panthers were able to trim the gap down to 17-12, but the momentum was short-lived as McIntosh responded with with a five-point run. They finished it off at a 25-14 margin.
The third set was more even through the early stages, but the Chiefs did finally grabbed control with a nine-point lead to force a Panther timeout. The lead peeked at 21-9 before Starr’s Mill clawed back within six. McIntosh just wouldn’t be denied, claiming match point on a Ngozi Iloh kill for a 25-18 win and an area championship.
Iloh led the Chiefs in kills with 13, followed by Erykah Lovett with 11, Casey Raschen with 6, and Jonna Knight with 5. Brianna Beccera notched 24 digs, with Finn Millians and Olivia Stewart posting 13 apiece. Lynsey Hamblin tallied 17 assists, and Millians added 15.
The Panthers were led in kills by Gabi Ramkissoon and Kayla Soan with 6 apiece, followed by Megan Lee and Tessa Laney with 4 apiece. Jessica Tomasello led in digs with 15, followed by Jesse Echols and Laney with 12 apiece and Lee with 10. Laney added 12 assists.
The Chiefs open the state tourney as a one seed and will host Miller Grove in round one.
Though the Panthers were disappointed to finish as runners up, they were pleased with the path they took to get there. After falling to Whitewater late in the regular season and earlier in the area tournament, Starr’s Mill exacted revenge with a dominating victory (25-14, 25-15) in the semifinals to clinch a home match in round one of state.
“We were very close when we played them on Wednesday, so we circled that match knowing (the Wildcats) were going to have a tough match versus McIntosh,” said Starr’s Mill coach Walt Ellison. “We motivated our kids that the winner of that match did not have a four-hour long bus drive to south Georgia.”
They will take that motivation with them when they host Johnson in round one.
“We would’ve loved to win the area, but it’s a step at a time,” said Ellison. “We played really well today. I’m very excited for us.”
Whitewater took the three seed and will open on the road at Statesboro. Fayette County is the four seed and opens on the road at South Effingham.
The volleyball team at Our Lady of Mercy just made school history. Thursday night, the Bobcats won their first ever area championship to continue their dominant season.
After rolling through area play in the regular season undefeated, they beat Strong Rock in the semifinals (25-14, 25-15) and Landmark Christian in the finals (25-15, 16-25, 25-22) for their first area crown. Against Landmark, Mia Hall posted 10 kills, 1 dig, and 7 blocks. Eboni Winston posted 3 kills, 2 aces, 4 digs, and 35 assists. Keelia Jordan tallied 16 kills, 4 digs, and 2 blocks.
For their work, Mia Hall, Eboni Winston, and Hope Walker were named to the All Area team, and Keelia Jordan, Stephanie Bodkin, and Jolie Butts were named to the All-Tournament team.
The Bobcats open the state tournament at home against Darlington Thursday, October 12 at 6 p.m.