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Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball, Girls Varsity Volleyball · Volleyball Advances to 2nd Round!

The Daily Reflector

Saturday, October 21, 2017

LITTLEFIELD — With a suc­cess­ful reg­u­lar sea­son be­hind it, Ay­den-Grifton’s vol­ley­ball team turned its at­ten­tion to the post­sea­son Satur­day.

The Charg­ers, the No. 4 seed in the 2-A East bracket, didn’t pro­duce their clean­est per­for­mance of the sea­son, but what they did pro­duce was more than enough to sweep their way past the Durham School of the Arts (25-15, 25-18, 25-11) to ad­vance to the sec­ond round.

The play­off vic­tory was the pro­gram’s first un­der coach Linda Bryant, who came to A-G in 2010. Ay­den-Grifton (20-2) will host a sec­ond-round matchup Tues­day night.

Bryant’s club en­tered the post­sea­son fresh off clinch­ing its first con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship since 1976. But A-G’s hit­ting was sloppy at times Satur­day and the team took a while to find its rhythm, some­thing Bryant par­tially at­trib­uted to the match’s 2 p.m. start time.

“It makes a dif­fer­ence be­cause the girls are not in the same rou­tine, and when we came out in that first set, I could tell we were not in sync,” she said. “Not only that, the pass­ing game was not good ei­ther and we strug­gled to make some con­tacts. … I took a time­out and told them that we just needed to fo­cus on our game and pass the ball.”

Ay­den-Grifton led 9-8 in the first set when a kill by Emily Dykes set off an 8-0 run that helped the Charg­ers gain a 1-0 lead in the match.

The vis­it­ing Bull­dogs took their best swing at A-G in the sec­ond, trail­ing by just three as the teams pushed past the half­way point in the set, but Ay­den-Grifton reeled off seven of the set’s last 10 points for the win.

DSA led 7-5 in the third, but the Charg­ers put their em­phatic stamp on the win with a 12-0 run to take a com­mand­ing lead and they ul­ti­mately scored 20 of the match’s fi­nal 24 points.

“We just had to come in here with the same men­tal­ity of blood, sweat and tears,” said Zion Hardy, who had seven kills to go with a team-high 20 ser­vice points. “I feel like we played good but we can al­ways be bet­ter.”

Dykes had a team-high 10 kills for A-G. Jor­dan Can­non had 25 as­sists.

— Jor­dan An­ders