MYRTLE BEACH — For Socastee volleyball coach Allyson Gordon, Tuesday night’s first-round win over Crestwood in the Class AAA playoffs has been a long time coming.
The Braves’ 3-0 win over the Crestwood Knights (25-20, 25-16, 25-1) marked Gordon’s first postseason win as head coach.
“It’s exciting, it really is,” Gordon said. “This whole fall here at Socastee has been exciting for all our teams; we’ve had a lot of firsts. It’s great, it’s a good feeling. I’m more excited for [the players] than anything, they’ve worked all year for this.”
Last year Socastee was on the road after securing a No. 4 seed. This year, however, the Braves locked up a No. 2 seed, keeping them at home as postseason play opened.
That was just fine with Gordon.
“We were just tickled pink we didn’t have to get on a bus and ride,” Gordon said. “As I said before, the big thing was making the difference from traveling from the parking lot to here. Getting to play this first game and getting the win at home… big thrill for them.”
The Braves started slow as Crestwood kept them on edge in Game 1. In Game 2, Socastee scored seven out of the gate and continued to hold the lead, streaking to 24, just one point shy of clinching the game. Crestwood rallied from a big deficit to get within eight points, but it wasn’t enough to deter a surging Socastee offense.
“We did start slow. We picked it up in that second game and kind of finally got our groove, and what was going on, and having to play their style, they’re very smart with their placement,” Gordon said. “A lot of short balls, which we weren’t prepared for, and we finally got the groove defensively with that, and then of course got on a roll in that last game.”
The Braves dominated Game 3, giving up just one point and securing the playoff win.
Rachel Hall was 20-for-20 serving – including 16 straight points in the third game – and six aces, Alison Markley had eight kills, 12 assists, three digs and an ace, and Anna Marie Guest added 11 kills, four aces, and a block. Dale Rogers had nine kills, Katherine Hall was 8-for-8 serving with 25 assists, Jessica Haugen added three aces and seven digs, and Sam Speedling was 7-for-7 serving with two aces and three kills.
Collectively, it was a nice start for Socastee.
“Basically what we’ve talked about the last couple of days is to stay prepared,” Gordon said. “Rumor had it that they (Crestwood) weren’t very strong, and I said you just can’t discount anybody; you’ve got to go in there and play them like they’re North Myrtle Beach, or you know, a No. 1 seed because you never know, anybody can show up. You’ve got to approach it just like it is, any other game when everything’s on the line.”
What does coach Gordon attribute her team’s success to this year? Chemistry.
“I think this year the girls have played together so well,” Gordon said. “We’ve had the talent and it’s always been here, but this group meshes very well together, and I think that’s made all the difference.”
Contact JOSH BELL at 444-1702.