Gaffney Eliminates Lady Bengals

Bijonae Jones (6) pounds one into the Woodmont defense in last week’s round one victory. Jones went down with a knee injury in game one of Tuesday’s match with Gaffney. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

GAFFNEY – The Blythewood Lady Bengals volleyball team bowed out in the second round of the playoffs Tuesday night in Gaffney after a stunning injury to their star player Bijonae Jones.

Following a two-hour trek north to the Upstate, the Lady Bengals fell 25-23, 23-25, 17-25, 20-25.

With the first game already in the bag in the best of five match, the senior and North/South All-Star selection Jones injured her knee in the second game as the Lady Bengals were steamrolling with an 8-point lead.

After going up for a kill, Jones came down awkwardly and twisted her left knee. Blythewood head coach Mary Hall told The Voice Tuesday night that her staff would not know exactly what the diagnosis is until Jones visits a doctor.

Following the injury, Hall said her team could not recover after the Wofford commit exited prematurely.

“We were doing really well,” Hall said. “We had shut the crowd down and the second game was pretty much in the bag, but the injury forced a long time out and our hitters just couldn’t bounce back.”

It was at that point that the game’s momentum swung in Gaffney’s favor and the Lady Indians won three games straight to advance to the quarterfinals. Gaffney will face either T.L. Hanna or Dorman on Thursday. Scores were unavailable at press time.

Although the season ended in an unfortunate fashion for the Lady Bengals, Hall said it was quite a ride to get to that point.

“This run has been amazing,” she said. “This season wasn’t supposed to end tonight because I could have seriously seen this team making it to at least the final four.”

Hall has established a winning tradition at Blythewood and told The Voice it has been amazing to watch the Lady Bengal program rise to compete with top-level programs.

“Even when it looks like we’re supposed to be a weaker team we still come back strong,” she said. “It is just the mentality of the whole program. I feel blessed just to be a part of it.”

Hall will look to do more than just reload next season as she returns a solid core of young talent.

“Moving forward these girls will know they are very capable,” Hall said.

Returning for Blythewood will be 10 players including a host of sophomores (6). Playing their final game in a Lady Bengal uniform were Jones (Wofford), Leah Gunter (Belmont Abbey) and Di’Ahrah Hall (entertaining offers from Claflin University and Paine College).

Hall believes the experience of winning the Region IV-4A title and performing in the post-season will prepare her team for even more success in 2015.

“Even though we will be losing three quality players, I don’t think we’ll miss a beat and I’m excited for the future,” she said.

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