The Dorman Cavaliers won the fifth and deciding game 15-13 to defeat the Rock Hill Bearcats 3-2 in the Class AAAA volleyball playoffs Tuesday night in the Rock Hill gym.
The Cavaliers won the first two games 25-19 and 25-22, before the Bearcats rebounded and claimed the next two games 25-23 and 25-13.
“This was a classic,” said Dorman coach Paula Kirkland. “We expected a tough match that would go to five games, and that is exactly what we got.”
Dorman improved to 29-5 and will host Hillcrest on Thursday for the Upper State championship.
“This was a great match,” said Rock Hill coach Cindy Elder. “We really battled back after being down 2-0, and I am proud of that. We lost our composure in the last game at the end.”
Rock Hill stormed to an early 12-5 lead in game one when Sutton Alexander scored on a kill, but Dorman came back. When Natalie Boyd scored on a kill the game was tied at 17-all. The Cavaliers finished the game with an 8-2 run.
Erin Hottle’s kill gave the Bearcats a 14-10 advantage just past the midpoint of the second game. Dorman tied it at 15 on an Emily Tims kill, and took the lead for good at 19-18 on Boyd’s block. The Cavaliers closed it out with a 6-4 run.
The third game was tied at 19-all when the Cavaliers used a 4-1 run to take a 23-20 lead. Emily Russell scored on a kill and block to spark a 5-0 run for the Bearcats to end the game.
“That is a tribute to Rock Hill,” Kirkland said. “They really came back, when I thought we had them.”
The comeback attempt continued into the fourth game. Rock Hill jumped out to a 4-1 lead on an Alexander kill, and then used an 8-1 run to push the margin to 12-5.
Russell had a pair of kills and a block and Alexander had two blocks and a kill down the stretch, and the Bearcats pulled away for a 12-point win to tie the count at 2-2.
The final game was tied 10 times as the teams battled back and forth. When Russell scored on a kill, Rock Hill was in front 12-10. Dorman got kills from Hannah Garrett and Kaylee Hilton, and the score was tied at 12-all.
Garrett scored on a kill and Rock Hill got the next point to knot the score at 13-all. Garrett’s kill gave Dorman a 14-13 lead, and Boyd’s kill ended the match.
Rock Hill finished the season 15-2.
“We had a great year,” Elder said. “We saw a lot of potential in this team, and they really worked hard.”
Russell led Rock Hill with 18 kills and 11 blocks. Alexander added 10 kills and 8 blocks, and Christen Bragg had 39 assists.
Hilton led Dorman with 15 kills. Garrett added 14, including five in the final game. Boyd had four kills and four blocks, and Katelyn Bagwell had 47 assists.