Volleyball Wrapup: NMB, CF capture first place in regions

The showdown for first place in Region VIII-AAA volleyball did not quite live up to “showdown” status as the North Myrtle Beach Lady Chiefs proved why they are one of the top programs in South Carolina.

North Myrtle Beach (10-0 overall, 4-0 region) cruised to a 3-0 victory over the St. James (4-7, 3-1) by scores of 25-14, 25-10 and 26-24.

North Myrtle Beach came out swinging behind the power of senior Taylor Allman and and junior Ellen Johnson, both members of the 2011 AAA All-State Team.  Allman posted 18 kills to lead the Lady Chiefs, while Johnson posted 11 kills.

Junior setter Tara Hix posted 26 assists in the first two sets before sitting out the third and final set.  The first two games were never in doubt as Coach Estelle Barentine’s squad kept the pressure on from start to finish.

“This is just another step toward our goal of reaching the state finals,” said Barentine.  “Each match, we want to improve and continue working toward the post-season and try to peak at the right time.  Winning the Region will help set us up to host early in the playoffs.  This is all part of our goal and I am proud of the work ethic that the girls put in on a daily basis to continue to work toward that goal.”

After the two quick victories in sets one and two, the only thing that looked like it might be in jeopardy was NMB’s undefeated streak in consecutive set wins.  In each of the Lady Chiefs first nine matches, the squad reeled off victories in 23 straight sets.  After pushing that streak to 25 after the first two sets, St. James tied the third set at 24-24 and held the serve as the Lady Sharks tried to at least end one of NMB’s streaks.  After taking a 25-24 lead on a sideout, Allman ended the match with her final kill of the night to keep all of NMB’s streaks alive.

The Lady Chiefs face defending region champion Myrtle Beach on the road Tuesday.

* Carolina Forest 3, Conway 1: The Lady Panthers (8-2 overall, 3-0 region) scored a 25-15, 25-16, 20-25, 25-21 victory over Conway on Thursday to claim first place in the Region VI-AAAA standings.

Carolina Forest’s Cristina Wright made 14 kills, two blocks and seven service points; Sam Barrett had 10 kills, and Macey Imming added 31 assists and nine service points.

The Lady Tigers fell to 2-1 in the region.

* Myrtle Beach 3, Georgetown 0: The Lady Seahawks (4-2 overall, 2-2 Region VII-AAA) scored a 25-6, 25-21, 25-13 sweep of the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday.

Myrtle Beach’s Shelby Sheets netted eight kills and teammates Kate Fullwood and Maggie Slabinski tallied seven kills each as the Lady Seahawks rebounded from a recent slump.

Photo by Tyler Watkins

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