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Blowing Rock rallies for first win; Hardin Park dominates tri-matches

By David Rogers for HighCountrySports.net

BOONE, N.C. — Few, if any, middle school volleyball matches on Sept. 15 could have featured as much tension and excitement on both sides as the Bethel vs. Blowing Rock match at Hardin Park School.

It was the second game of the tri-match format, played after Bethel had lost, 2-0 (25-3, 25-12) to the host Golden Eagles. In the first set between Bethel and the Rockets, the west siders had Blowing Rock on the ropes with a 24-18 lead and just needing one point to win the set. But behind masterful serving by young Elouise Cascio, the Rockets went on a 7-0 run that put them ahead 25-24. Then Bethel stiffened, forcing the set into extended overtime before Blowing Rock prevailed, 32-30.

 Madison Millsaps serves for Bethel on Sept. 15, against Hardin Park. Photo by David Rogers

The joy on the Blowing Rock bench was palpable, it being the first set won by the Rockets during the 2022 season. With momentum and growing confidence, they went on to take the second set, too (25-16), to claim their first match won of the season, too.

Although the Rockets were buoyed by the win under tough conditions, a strong, tall, and athletic Hardin Park team finished the night with a 25-12, 25-11 straight set victory over Blowing Rock in the final pairing.

 Graycie Collins of Hardin Park strikes the ball on Sept. 15, vs. Bethel. Photo by David Rogers

Elsewhere, in the lone single match of the night, Cove Creek battled to a straight-set win over Green Valley, at Cove Creek, but not before the Eagles pushed the Raiders to overtime in the second set. Final scores: 25-15, 26-24.

The other tri-match for the night was hosted by Parkway, vs. Mabel and Valle Crucis. Parkway defeated Mabel, 25-7, 25-13, before Mabel dispatched Valle Crucis, 25-13, 25-23.

In the final pairing, Parkway shot by Valle Crucis, 25-7, 25-13.

 Blowing Rock’s Anna Brynne keeps the ball in play with a dig on Sept. 15, in the Rockets’ first set win against Bethel, at Hardin Park School. Photo by David Rogers