Championship runs aren't supposed to be that easy, but the Nation Ford Lady Falcons cruised to the Class AAA state volleyball championship Saturday barely breaking a sweat.
The Lady Falcons claimed the school's second team state championship by beating sixth ranked Hilton Head High School 3-0. This made the school's first state title in a girls' sport, while the school's first title came from the 2008 boy's swim team.
Nation Ford dominated the entire match only trailing twice, and winning with scores of 25-13, 25-13 and 25-15.
"This was our main goal," said senior captain Ally Lambert.
Ranked No. 1 for the majority of their playoff run, the Lady Falcons didn't drop a set the entire five games during the playoffs and haven't lost a set since Oct. 16 against Charlotte Catholic.
Nation Ford finished off the season winning 15 straight matches and ended with a 29-4 record.
At times during the state championship match against Hilton Head, Nation Ford looked as if it was putting on a clinic and was aggressively outplaying the Seahawks, almost to Hilton Head's embarrassment.
"They (Hilton Head) are a good team," said Lady Falcons head coach Carrie Christian. "But we have worked so hard the girls wanted it so bad. This is incredible. This is the reason I came to Nation Ford. This is very satisfying."
The Lady Falcons were led by senior captains Sara Bebeau, Shelia Walsh and Lambert. Bebeau had 15 kills, nine digs and three aces. Lambert had six kills, nine digs and three aces and Walsh had 31 assist, nine digs and one ace.
Christian said it meant something special for her three captains to go out on top.
"It was incredibly satisfying to do it with them," she said.
Nation Ford fell in 2009 in the Upper State championship, so reaching the finals left the team with some unfinished business at hand.
Bebeau knew her team had to play their game and things would fall into place.
"This was our last chance at it," she said. "All of us were nervous, but we were also confident."
Nation Ford opened the first set scoring six straight points and the Lady Falcons knew right away the day was going to be special.
"After the first couple points, we knew the chemistry was going to be there," Lambert said.
Hilton Head came back in the first set after the Lady Falcons' opening run, to score a couple points, but couldn't gain momentum.
Nation Ford's net play was key early as they consistently blocked what the Seahawks tossed at them.
The Lady Falcons scored four straight points to move the game from 9-4 to 13-4 and opened an insurmountable gap for Hilton Head.
Hilton Head tried to keep pace, but Nation Ford was too strong for them as the Lady Falcons stayed aggressive throughout the match.
Hilton Head struggled serving the ball in the first set, as their long serves would cost them points and give the ball back to Nation Ford.
Things didn't get any better for Hilton Head in the second set.
Nation Ford yet again opened the set up with six straight points as Bebeau propelled the ball deep into the Seahawks court serving the ball to start. After Hilton Head scored a point, they yet again failed to capitalize on making a run giving the ball back to Nation Ford.
That put junior Bailey Kernodle serving the ball for the Lady Falcons and she proceeded to put another six points on the board for Nation Ford moving the score to 12-1.
Nation Ford started substituting players midway through the second set as they pushed the score to 19-6 before another Seahawks time out was taken.
Hilton Head played better after the time out as the two teams split the next 12 points before Nation Ford closed things out with another 25-13 set win.
The third and final set was more competitive as Hilton Head opened the set scoring the first point and grabbing a 1-0 lead. It was their first lead of the entire match.
The third set would see long volleys between the two schools as Nation Ford would pull away from a 2-1 deficit and score five straight points to put it at 6-2.
Hilton Head kept within a three point range at times, but could never get any closer than two points after giving up the lead.
The Seahawks took a time out late in the third set trailing 17-14. After the time out, Lambert strung together five straight Nation Ford points to push the game to 22-14, before the Lady Falcons closed the set, match and their championship season out.