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L-E completes comeback for season sweep of CHS
L-ES SARAH CASHION sends a shot back over the net in Wednesdays match at Camden. The Lady Bulldog duo of Faith Grant (left) and Emma Nash are shown going up for the block. - photo by C-I photo by Tom Didato

It was not going to happen on their watch.

Having gone through their high school careers without having lost to Camden in the regular season, the seven seniors on the Lugoff-Elgin volleyball team were not about to let their last set against their cross-river rivals get away.

Using a furious 7-0 run to close the fifth-set tie-breaker, the Lady Demons took the best-of-five match with the host Lady Bulldogs, 3-2, on Wednesday night inside the Dog Pound.

The non-region pairing pitted a pair of programs which could take the top seeds from their respective regions into next week’s opening round of the state playoffs. Both CHS (Region 4-AAA) and L-E (Region 4-4A) are involved in tie-breakers as they each tied for first in their respective circuits.

None of that mattered on this evening in which the guests spoiled Senior Night at Camden High with a 15-25, 25-14, 22-25, 25-22 and 15-8 victory.

For CHS head coach Paige Wilson, Wednesday’s uneven play for her team was a microcosm of this entire season.

"Parts of the match were good," she said, "but it was an inconsistent effort. We were too inconsistent. We were up and down with our play. Any team does better when you bring the energy and enthusiasm; we’ve struggled with that all year.

"We played with the best intensity we played with all year with last week and then, we turn around and were inconsistent again. That contributed to a lot of our losses and was that way again tonight."

That uneven play showed early. Camden bolted away from L-E in the opener, using a closing 14-3 run to come away with a win over the Lady Demons, who swept the first meeting between the two sides in a best-of-three match played inside the Demons Den.

After the first set loss, on a night in which her team had trouble from the service stripe, L-E head coach Jessica Mullins looked to her upperclassmen to help right the ship.

"I told the girls they had to find their consistency," she said. "One thing we do have with seven seniors is a lot of consistency and a lot of control; that’s what they had to find. Once they found that, we were able to succeed."

Just as the hostesses ran away with the opening set, L-E took control of the second rather early, using a massive 12-4 closing kick to handily even things.

For all the first two sets were not, sets three and four were.

The third saw the set knotted at 20 and then at 21 after L-E’s Emily Hyman delivered a kill to even things to get things headed in the right direction for the visitors who grabbed a 2-1 advantage. One set later, L-E found itself down, 23-20 after a serve missed the mark and then trailed 24-20 when a CHS serve from Emma Nash hit the top of the net and fell to the ground untouched.

The Lady Demons rallied for two straight points only to have Michaela Taylor’s cross-court kill give the 25-22 victory to the Lady Bulldogs.

Camden was unable to fully capitalize on its momentum in a fifth set finale in which it scored the first three points in a match which was tied at eight. With senior Aubrey Edgerton on the service stripe, the guests rattled off seven straight points and went to hitter Sarah Cashion and the senior all-state candidate delivered with three kills down the stretch --- including the final point --- to put this one in the books.

Mullins said a match like this helps prepare the Lady Demons for the post-season.

"Hopefully," she said, "they’ll keep this same energy and take it into next week."

As for Wilson, she said her Lady Bulldogs need to find consistency if they are to make a deep playoff run.

"I hope we can learn that you’re not going to win big matches with the up and down level of play that we’ve been seeing," she said.