Saturday, November 3, 2012
Lexington, SC -- The Aiken volleyball team defied the odds against them all season, but couldn't do it one last time, losing to top-ranked Hillcrest 3-1 in the SCHSL Class 4A state volleyball championship.
With a pair of all-state players on each team, and a 2011 all-state selection in Aiken's Anna Tovo, both teams came out swinging in the first set. The Rams led 7-2, then Aiken held the advantage 14-12, but Hillcrest took the set 25-23 on a net ball by Aiken.
Any momentum the Rams picked up was quickly smashed by a firing squad of Natasha Dicks kills. The Hornets went to the region player of the year over and over in the set, and she delivered. Aiken romped to a 25-13 score.
Hillcrest, the defending state champs, showed their meddle though. They brought it right back to the Hornets, topping them 25-14 in the third set.
Then, in the fourth and final set, a series of controversial calls went against Aiken, building up a comfortable lead for the Rams who held on to win the set and the championship, 25-20.
In the match, Dicks had 19 kills and Tovo had 14. Senior Tyler Smith added seven kills and five blocks for Aiken. Junior setter Emily Teelon had 41 assists, and sophomore libero Taylor Mabry led the defense with 19 digs.
The Hornets weren't expected by most to compete for the title this year after losing a number of players from the 2010 championship and 2011 runner-up team.
They were challenged further by a torn ACL that held Tovo out until the middle of October.
Graduating seniors Dicks, Smith and Mary Cate West finish their Aiken careers with a 118-17 record, one state championship (2010) and two runner-up (2011, 2012) finishes.