SIMPSONVILLE -- Rock Hill succumbed to a veteran Hillcrest team Tuesday in the third round of the Class AAAA volleyball playoffs, falling 25-12, 25-21 and 25-21.
Hillcrest, the defending state champion, showed why it's unbeaten in 24 matches this season.
"They've got seven seniors and that showed tonight," Rock Hill coach Cindy Elder said. "I'll be glad when all their seniors graduate. They're just bigger and they pass better than us."
But the visiting Bearcats didn't go down without a fight.
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Rock Hill (17-3), the Region 3-AAAA champion, challenged Hillcrest throughout. In the opening game, the teams were tied at 7 before the Rams closed with a 17-4 run. The second game was knotted 14-14 before Hillcrest gained the upper hand and the third game was tied 17-17 before the Rams closed with a flourish.
Led by seniors Brooke Lucas and Jessi Farrington, Rock Hill still managed to keep the match interesting in front of a large contingent of vocal supporters who made the trip.
• MAULDIN 6, CLOVER 1 -- At Mauldin, the Mauldin girls tennis team flexed its collective muscle, handing visiting Clover its first loss of the season, 6-1, in the third round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
The Mavericks (17-1) jumped on top of the Blue Eagles quickly, claiming four of the opening five singles matches.
"It's important to get on top of your opponents first," Mauldin coach Laura Gurley said. "Sometimes it's hard to get the momentum back if you lose it."
Mauldin's Megan Jones defeated Kate Stewart 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles, while seniors Ansley Erbacher and Chrissy Wilkins also won their respective matches singles in straight sets at No. 3 and No. 4 singles. Eighth-grader Morgan Tracy was victorious at No. 5 singles, defeating Allison Pruitt 7-5, 6-2.
Erbacher and Wilkins were members of the last Mauldin team to reach the state finals in 2005, when the team suffered a 6-0 defeat to Wando.
Clover (20-1) won its only match at No. 1 singles, when Devon Sutherland rallied to defeat Ansley Speaks 2-6, 6-0, 10-8.
Despite the defeat, the Blue Eagles -- who fielded two middle-school athletes and three sophomores -- remained optimistic about the future.
"It wasn't a disappointment at all," Clover coach Phil Wingard said. "It was a rebuilding year for us and we hadn't lost until tonight. We'll be back."