Lady Bengals impress at Carolina Forest Tournament

Blythewood volleyball is at the top of the Region IV 4A standings with a 7-1 record. The Lady Bengals were impressive at the Carolina Forest Tournament Saturday, winning the championship over Ashley Hall (Charleston, S.C.) 25-14, 22-25 and 15-9. Blythewood finished the tournament on a seven-game winning streak after dropping their first match of the day 12-15 and 14-16 to Wando. That first match was scheduled at 8:30 in the morning and coach Mary Hall believes it was just too early for the Lady Bengals.

“Our girls didn’t come in to play and they played like it was 8:30,” Hall said. “Even though they didn’t play their best by any stretch of the imagination, it still wasn’t a blowout.”

After a motivational speech by Hall her team went on a seven-match tear starting with a 15-4 and 15-3 win over Pee Dee Academy. Then the Lady Bengals dismantled Christ Church Episcopal 15-3 and 15-2. Continuing in pool play, Blythewood stunned last year’s state runner up, Aiken, 15-11 and 15-7.

After winning their third straight, Blythewood was ready to make a run in the playoff.

“We were placed in a really tough pool which ultimately served us well,” Hall said.

Their playoff run started with a sweep of the host team Carolina Forest 25-16 and 25-18. Blythewood then faced off against one of their region rivals, Lugoff-Elgin, sweeping them 25-22 and 25-19.

In the semi-final match, Blythewood got the chance to avenge their earlier loss to Wando. The Lady Bengals got behind in the first game 24-26, but bounced back in the next two games 25-23 and 15-10 to win the match. In the championship game Blythewood defeated Ashley Hall 25-15, 22-25 and 15-9.

It was a tournament that lasted roughly 13 hours from 8:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night and ended with the Lady Bengals hoisting up the championship trophy.

“It was an exciting weekend, to say the least,” Hall said. “It really showed our girls what they can do this season if they go out and play to their strength.”

Senior hitters Meredith Jones and Abreia Epps led the way in kills with 56 apiece. Epps and Tiera Daugherty led the team in blocks with six and five respectively. Sophomore BiJonae Jones led the way in digs with 29, but not far behind were senior Gabriela Martinez with 28 and Meredith Jones with 27. BiJonae Jones was named to the all-tournament team and Martinez, with her team leading 118 assists, was named MVP.

The next action for Blythewood was Wednesday, when they were scheduled to go on the road to play Northwestern at 7 p.m. The home debut for the Lady Bengals is Thursday against Dutch Fork at 7 p.m. Hall hopes for a lot of support and looks forward to their home opener.

“We are going to bring a show and if you come you won’t be disappointed,” she said.