SIMPSONVILLE — Two-time defending state champion Hillcrest played its game Thursday and defeated visiting Northwestern in three sets in the second round of the AAAA volleyball playoffs.
Hillcrest advances to host Nation Ford on Tuesday in a third-round contest.
The Rams won 25-8, 25-12, and 25-14 to beat Northwestern (25-11), which had beaten Riverside in the opening round.
In the first set, the Rams kept the Trojans from getting any momentum or rhythm. Hillcrest jumped to an 8-1 advantage, and Northwestern didn’t score more than two points back-to-back in the set.
The Rams again built an early lead in the second set. Then, a 10-2 run allowed Hillcrest to create a 21-7 before the Trojans put together their best run of the night despite losing the set 25-12.
“(Hillcrest) set the tone, and we were trying to play their level,” said Northwestern coach Andrea Carrigan, who completed her first season as Trojans coach. “We never came out and started playing our game. We played right into their hands.
“We had a great season. We finished third in the region. We were still playing in the second round of the playoffs, one of 16 teams to be playing. I think we had a great run.”