Lady Panthers welcome MB, NMB, 12 others for tourney

The 2013 volleyball season gets under way on the Grand Strand on Saturday with the fourth annual Carolina Forest Invitational.

Fifteen teams will compete in a marathon tournament at Carolina Forest, with three courts hosting action from 8:15 a.m. until deep in the afternoon to crown a champion and give teams some serious court time before opening the regular season.

This year’s field is as tough as ever, with three pools featuring three local teams – host Carolina Forest and Region 7-3A powers North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach – joining a dozen from throughout the state.

Pool A includes Aiken, Ashkey Hall, Cardinal Newman, Johnsonville and Lugoff-Elgin; Pool B has Ashley Ridge, Blythewood, Carolina Forest, Pee Dee Academy and Riverside; and Pool C features Airport, Irmo, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Wando.

The teams will play round-robin pool play from 8:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. to set up the brackets for the single-elimination tournament, with a champion being crowned in the title match, which is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The host Lady Panthers are hoping to win their tournament for the first time, with a long-term goal of taking their fifth straight region title. North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach are the last two Lower State representatives in the Class 3A state championship match.

Tickets are $5 at the door and concessions are available.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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