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