LAURINBURG — Scotland had no second-set problems on Saturday, as they swept the visiting East Wake team in three games to advance to the second round of the state playoffs. Scotland, which has struggled in the second set often this season, instead played its best volleyball of the day enroute to a 25-15, 25-10 and 25-20.
East Wake probably had the two tallest players Scotland has faced all season in Breanna Arnold and Angel Rizor. Both players made their presence known at the net, racking up several blocks and forcing Scotland’s hitters to adjust their strategy.
Scotland coach Molly Hayes said she talked with her team during warm ups about how to counter East Wake’s height advantage.
“When they walked in and we saw a little bit more height than we’ve seen, of course you’re just naturally a little intimidated,” Hayes said. “‘But after watching warm ups I knew that we had girls who were a little bit more knowledgeable, knew the right things, knew the right approaches and the right techniques. So we talked about that before the game a little bit, where we needed to try to hit and where not to hit to avoid the block.”
The Scots quickly won the opening game 25-15 against an East Wake side that looked unorganized for most of the game. Scotland won the second game by an even larger margin, which was a departure from how the team usually looks in the middle game. That has almost always been their weakest game, but not Saturday.
Hayes said the team has changed their mindset now that the postseason has begun.
“I think that come tournament time they’re doing a good job of staying in a good mindset and not getting relaxed. They did that today,” Hayes said.
Jessie Kee lead the team in kills with 13 while Madeline Milholland collected eight. Milholland also completed 12 of her 14 passes to target and had three aces. Emma Gray Beacham had three aces of her own in the match, and Avery Callahan lead the team with 22 assists.
Scotland will host J.H. Rose High School on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the second round of the playoffs. Hayes said the team will practice Monday and work on improving in all areas.
“We’ve got to work on our defense again. They looked better tonight than last week so that’s improved,” Hayes said.