Volleyball: NMB stays hot; CF, MB reach third round

The North Myrtle Beach High volleyball team is making some serious noise in the Class 4A playoffs, and the Lady Chiefs hope to keep riding the wave all the way to a state championship.

The Lady Chiefs (21-5) swept visiting Beaufort 3-0 in Tuesday night’s second-round contest at their raucous home gym. As long as they keep winning, they don’t have to board a bus until the Nov. 9 state final.

That scenario doesn’t seem so far fetched considering they haven’t lost a match since an Aug. 25 showdown with Class 5A power Wando, and they haven’t lost a single set since a 2-1 win over Waccamaw on Aug. 29.

That was before the month-long break created by Hurricane Florence. Since then, North Myrtle Beach is 11-0, making a clean sweep to the Region 6-4A championship before taking aim at the rest of the state.

“Thankfully, I think we have had enough time after the break that we’re starting to get back on track,” said NMB coach Alex Sing, who previously coached at Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach. “The hard part is the girls didn’t get a lot of touches during that time, but I think we’re finally back to where we need to be to make a run.”

The golden opportunity has been a long time in the making, even before Sing became head coach of the Chiefs three years ago. He started the Grand Strand Juniors volleyball program 11 years ago, and the move is paying dividends now that the first kids in the club have reached high school.

Sing was able to groom some of his current players from the first grade, including senior starter Kayla Henley. “I remember when Kayla first started she could walk under the net,” he joked. “Now she’s hitting way over the net.”

“When we started it we hoped that within 10 years our local teams would be competing for state championships,” Sing said, “But within five years (Myrtle Beach coach Larry Church) went to one, then we won one at Christian Academy. Now for the past three years, the state title has come through the Grand Strand.”

Henley and fellow senior and Sydney Bellamy led the Lady Chiefs on Tuesday with eight and 12 kills, respectively. Junior Raegan Matney had nine kills and 23 assists as North Myrtle Beach won by scores of 25-21, 25-13, 25-8. The Chiefs play host to Aiken on Thursday with a trip to the Lower State final on the line.

North Myrtle Beach isn’t the only local team advancing to the third round. Defending Class 4A champion Myrtle Beach won on the road at South Aiken 3-1 on Tuesday, while Carolina Forest defeated Straford 3-0 in the second round of the Class 5A tournament. Both teams hit the road for the third round Thursday – the Seahawks at Hilton Head and Carolina Forest at Lexington.

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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