Fort Mill Sports

Falcons avenge loss to Fort Mill, capture region

Fort Mill's Brynn Bonner (1) digs the ball against Nation Ford, which avenged an earlier season loss by beating the Jackets on Senior Night.
Fort Mill's Brynn Bonner (1) digs the ball against Nation Ford, which avenged an earlier season loss by beating the Jackets on Senior Night. Special to the Fort Mill Times

The Nation Ford Falcons volleyball team came away with two things from their recent match with Fort Mill – revenge and a Region IV title.

Sweeping their rivals at home in three sets 25-17, 25-17, 25-22 made Senior Night even sweeter for the Falcons. Earlier in the season, Nation Ford lost to Fort Mill in five sets on the road – the team’s only region loss of the season as it finished 7-1.

“The emotions of senior night are always tough,” said Nation Ford head coach Carrie Christian. “We made some changes that helped on defense. We knew what was coming.”

Fort Mill started the match off by going up 7-2 in the first set, but Nation Ford came back to tie it at 7-7 on a 5-0 run and then took an 8-7 lead, forcing Fort Mill into a time out. The Yellow Jackets played better out of the time out scoring four of the next five points to take a 12-9 lead.

Nation Ford battled back and took a 19-16 lead on the way to closing out the first set.

The third set started close, but again Fort Mill allowed Nation Ford to go on a 5-2 run after being tied at 20 late in the set.

“The last set we found some rhythm,” said Fort Mill head coach Gina Farley. “We just had a tough time getting our rhythm going.”

Fort Mill finished the regular season third in the region and with an overall 25-13 regular season record. Nation Ford finished the regular season with a 17-16 record.

Turning point

Fort Mill took a 10-7 lead in the second set to find its way back in the match, but again allowed Nation Ford to rally. The Falcons took a 16-12 lead again forcing Fort Mill into a time out to regroup. The time out didn’t work as well as Nation Ford started pulling away out of the time out with each team trading point and the Jackets not being able to close the gap.

Critical

Fort Mill struggled on its returns most of the match as Nation Ford would set up plays and then find gaping holes in the Jackets defense to get kills and point to help launch their rallies in both the first and second set.

Star contributions

Nation Ford was led by Quin Sutphin, who has 16 kills, six digs, four aces and three blocks. Gwen Spencer had 35 assist and five digs and Chanel Turner had 13 digs, two aces and three kills. Kelli Martin had 10 kills and four digs as well.

On deck

With the start of the playoffs being pushed back because of Hurricane Matthew, both Fort Mill and Nation Ford know they will have some time off before starting the post-season Oct. 27. Because it won the region, Nation Ford will open with a home match against Boiling Springs. Fort Mill will hit the road to play at Byrnes.

Mac Banks: mbanks@comporium.net, @MacBanksFM

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