When the undefeated North Myrtle Beach High volleyball team got on the bus to play at rival Socastee, it had more than a region win and a six-game winning streak on the line.
The Chiefs’ thoughts traveled back to October 27, 2011, when Chapin ended their run in the Lower State finals. It’s clear the bar rests a little higher in 2012.
And Socastee was one of the victims in the way on Tuesday night as North Myrtle Beach rolled to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-20) victory in the region opener for both schools.
“This year our goal is to make it to the state finals,” said Chiefs coach Estelle Barentine, who admits there is a long road between now and then. “Realistically, I think we can get there but it just takes a lot of hard work. We still aren’t there, but that’s our goal.”
Taylor Allman had 13 kills and 15 digs, Mariah Jones added two kills and 26 digs and Ellen Johnson had seven kills to lead the Chiefs (6-0). Presley Fullum had six kills and a block and Sarah McCloskey added four kills in the win.
“Well, I’m real proud of the way they’ve played, because we really hustle, we’ve worked really hard in the offseason, and almost all of them play club except for the two kids that play basketball,” Barentine said. “I’m just real pleased with the progress so far.”
However, as was the case in last year’s successful run, it all starts with Allman, who also had four aces Tuesday. Allman’s progress has turned heads, most notably that of Barentine.
“This year I did move Taylor [Allman] to the outside because she’s become a great hitter,” Barentine said. “Maybe I should have done that last year.”
Hindsight is 20/20, but with a few minute changes and a sweeping momentum taking hold of Chiefs country, the Lower State finals may prove to be just a stepping stone for this year’s Chiefs.
Rachel Hall was a perfect 10-for-10 serving, Katherine Hall had nine assists and Dale Rodgers had eight kills and a block for Socastee (2-4), also a playoff squad from a season ago.
Contact JOSH BELL at 626-0385.