The Transylvania Times -

Lady Blue Devils Beat Spartans, Roll Into Third Round

 

October 31, 2019

Madison Baldridge paced the offense with nine kills in Tuesday's match. Brevard returns to action at home on Thursday, as they host No. 7 Forbush at 5 p.m. (Times photos by Jeremiah Reed)

Facing one of the better offensive teams they had seen all season, the Brevard Lady Blue Devils stayed cool, calm and collected Tuesday night, as they defeated the Central Davidson Spartans 3-0 to advance to the third round of the 2A playoffs.

The Spartans came out red hot offensively in the first set, and it looked like it could be a long night for the home side.

But after grinding out a first-set victory, Brevard made the necessary adjustments to slowly take over the match, earning their fifth straight win and returning to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

"Central Davidson was a great team for a second-round opponent and they came out strong in the first set," said Brevard head coach Cori Bryson. "We were able to make the adjustments where we needed to and that's why the second and third sets went the way they did. I'm super proud of my team."

Central Davidson came out showing their offensive firepower right away, led by hitters Sarah McMath and Madison Tate, who combined for nearly 550 kills entering the match.

A pair of blocks at the net gave Brevard a 4-1 lead, but the Spartans rallied to tie things up at 5-5.

The Lady Blue Devils responded with a 5-1 run before Davidson answered with three straight points to make it 10-9.

The match was tied at 12-12 before Brevard rattled off three straight points. The home team kept rolling, capped off by a kill from Brooklyn Rising that made it 19-13 and forced a Spartans' timeout.

The break didn't disrupt Brevard, as the Lady Blue Devils went on to take set one 25-20.

The home side really got into a rhythm in the second set, turning a 6-3 lead into 14-5 advantage and forcing a timeout from the visitors.

Brevard stormed through the set, sealing the 25-8 win off an ace from Madison Baldridge.

Davidson made their last big push entering the third set. The score was tied 5-5 before two straight aces gave the Spartans one of their few leads on the night.

But after getting things tied back up at 9-9, Brevard took control, putting together an 8-2 run to move ahead 17-11.

From there, the killer instinct took over as Brevard closed out the set 25-13.

While the offense came up with points in some big moments, the story of the match was the Lady Blue Devils' defense, particularly at the net and saving loose balls.

The Spartans had power hitters on the outside and some powerful servers, as well, but Brevard was never shaken by the energy of the visitors, and made the right tactical shifts to earn the win.

"We found their big hitters after the first set," Bryson said. "We knew we had to shut those two down and we adjusted our blocks to make them hit in spots where they weren't comfortable. Our defense was really calm throughout the match tonight and that made a big difference. Defensively, we were ready to play and were on our toes in spots where we haven't been covering. So, that was huge for us," Bryson said.

Baldridge led the way with nine kills. Ginny Pace had eight kills while Rising and Kaitlin Pressley both had six. Makenna Wilson had a solid night defensively, finishing with 18 serves received and 13 digs.

With the win, Brevard advances to the third round Thursday night, when they will host No. 7 Forbush at 5 p.m.

The Falcons are 19-9. They defeated North Lincoln 3-0 in the first round and narrowly edged out Franklin, 3-2, in the second round.

Makenna Wilson finished with 18 serves received and 13 digs as the Brevard Lady Blue Devils defeated Central Davidson 3-0 to advance to the third round of the playoffs Tuesday night.

Cautiously looking ahead, a pair of upsets in the upper portion of the bracket has knocked off some of the higher seeds, as No. 14 Surry Central and No. 11 Patton advanced to the third round, with the winner playing the winner of Brevard's match on Saturday.

There's still a long way to go, but Brevard is playing like a team on a mission, and even though there are areas to shore up, Bryson likes how her team looks going into round three.

"I don't want to count my chickens, but we're definitely moving in the right direction. My girls are still on board, though, and they know we still have things we have to work on. My hitters had a great night, as well as the defense, and, overall, we really played a good game," Bryson said.

 
 

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