HSVB: Creek handles Hawks for big region win

Laiani McCullough racked up a team-high 11 kills and four aces and Caroline Malphrus notched six kills as Battery Creek pulled off an impressive victory over visiting Hanahan, winning 3-1 in Region 8-3A play Tuesday night at the Palace. 

After dropping the first set 25-16, the Dolphins took the next three sets 25-19, 25-20 and 25-16. 

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Kinley Webb contributed three kills, while Amber Cooklin added five aces and Brooke Crosby had three, rounding out the Dolphins attack. 

“Right now, I am feeling really excited for the girls,” Dolphins coach Torri McCullough said. “The last few practices we have really been focusing on communication and I’ve been pushing them to really talk. They really showed it tonight in their communication and not giving up.” 

The first set saw both teams exchange points back and forth throughout the early portion of the set. The Dolphins took a 9-7 advantage, forcing the Hawks to use their first timeout. The break allowed Hanahan to regroup and put together a run of six consecutive points. Creek was forced into a second timeout late in the frame as the Hawks extended their lead to nine before winning the frame.

Stanza No. 2 started almost as a mirror of the first, as both teams exchanged points early on. With the score tied at 6, the Dolphins went on a 9-0 run to take a commanding 15-6 lead. BCHS extended its lead to as large as 19-9, but the Hawks battled back to within five before a Malphrus block gave the set to Creek. 

Battery Creek took control early in the third frame, pushing its lead out to four, forcing a Hanahan timeout. Creek tailed six more points, forcing the Hawks to call their second timeout at 16-6. Hanahan battled back within 23-20, but a Malphrus ace and Hawks attacking error gave BCHS the set win. 

Frame No. 4 began with the Dolphins picking up early points off service aces. Crosby picked up back-to-back aces to open play, and Creek continued its strong play from the previous set, extending its lead to as large as nine. But the Hawks battled back within five before a Malphrus kill and back-to-back Cooklin aces gave the Dolphins a six-point lead. After Malphrus picked up another kill and consecutive Hanahan service errors, Battery Creek won the set and the match.

“I was really focusing on them staying mentally tough,” Torri McCullough said. “We’ve had a real tough last three matches and we’re trying to keep them engaged. That was what I continued to tell them throughout the match.” 

Battery Creek (3-4, 3-4) continues its homestand against Bishop England on Thursday at the Palace. First serve scheduled for 6:30 p.m. 

Written by Brackin Lambert / Photo by Haley Maroney

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