The Mauldin Mavericks took the 5A third round state playoff game from Nation Ford with a 3-1 win (23-25, 21-25, 25-16, 22-25) knocking the Falcons out of the playoffs in dramatic fashion.
Mauldin won the first two sets only for the Falcons to battle back and avoid a sweep by winning the third set. But the fourth set proved fatal.
“We knew it would be a tough match,” said Nation Ford head coach Carrie Christian. “It was the little things that got us. We put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect.”
Mauldin won the first set 25-23 after leading from the beginning. The Mavericks took a 13-9 lead in that set forcing Nation Ford into a time out. Nation Ford regrouped some to battle back and keep the set close, eventually tying it at 21 with five straight points, but it was Mauldin that held serve and stayed the course to take the set.
Nation Ford jumped out to a good start in the second set going up 5-3, but Mauldin battled back for a 25-21 win. Mauldin tied the set at 8-8, before Nation Ford would again take the lead. However, the Falcons couldn’t hold off a resilient Mauldin squad, which then took a 17-15 lead. The Mavericks would again control the remainder of the set holding Nation Ford off from another rally to take a 2-0 lead.
The Falcons again jumped off to a hot start in the third set to go up 9-3 and controlled the set from the opening serve. Nation Ford never trailed in the set and for the first time all match, showed its strengths at the net for the 25-16 win.
For the third consecutive set, Nation Ford jumped out to a good lead at 9-5, but this time around Mauldin made the necessary adjustments and battled back to tie things at 16. The Falcons again pushed forward at 20-17, but couldn’t hold off the Mavericks’ rally as they would tie the set at 22. Mauldin would win the next three points to take the set 25-22 and the match ending the Falcons’ season.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @MacBanksFM