Lady Seahawks battle past Airport, keep title run alive

The Myrtle Beach High volleyball team advanced to the third round of the Class AAA state tournament with Thursday’s sweep over visiting Airport, but it didn’t come as easily as the 3-0 score indicates.

The Lady Seahawks scored a 25-23, 25-16, 25-23 decision over the Lady Eagles, but the first and third games could have gone either way if not for a late push by Myrtle Beach.

With the third game hanging in the balance and Airport holding a 17-13 lead, Myrtle Beach coach Larry Church called timeout and gave the Lady Seahawks a pep talk that pushed them over the top.

“I don’t do that very often,” said the normally soft-spoken Church, whose rant could be heard over the large crowd. “I just wanted to get their attention and get them to play the way I know they are capable of.

“We made a lot of mistakes tonight. Not to take anything away from Airport because they’re a great team, but we didn’t play our best and the competition is going to get better and better from here on out. We can’t afford to play like that.”

Church’s message got through to the Lady Seahawks, who rattled off six unanswered points and made a 9-1 run to retake the lead at 22-18.

With Region VIII-AAA Player of the Year Meagan Milligan playing on the back row in the third game, all-region teammates Amy Wiggins, Melissa Dixon and Shelby Sheets picked up the slack on the front line.

Kills by Dixon and Wiggins tied the match at 18-all and gave Myrtle Beach the lead. Sheets made two blocks and two kills late in the match, including the match-winning spike that the Lady Eagles couldn’t touch.

“He just told us to focus and play our game,” Sheets said. “We didn’t play our best tonight but we came through when it counted. We’ve got to play better because the teams we play are going to get better.”

Milligan led the Lady Seahawks with 14 kills, Sheets had 10 aces and seven kills and Wiggins notched eight kills and four blocks.

Myrtle Beach will host Bluffton for the right to play for the Lower State championship at 6 p.m. Monday.

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