Hebron sweeps Calvary Day in playoffs

DACULA -- One thing Hebron head volleyball coach Judy Conner is proud of is the amount of support her team receives from the community and the school's student body.

Tuesday's second-round match in the Class A state playoffs was no exceptions as the large, vocal crowd was treated to a 3-0 sweep over Calvary Day 25-18, 25-11, 25-6.

The win puts the Lions (37-11) into the Elite 8 for the third time in the past four years. For now, Conner will have to await the reseeding process that will take place at the GHSA office this afternoon to determine when and where the Lions will play on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

Calvary Day, which made the five-hour trip from Savannah on Monday, opened its playoff journey with a win against First Presbyterian Day last week, got off to a good start on Tuesday against Hebron by opening the match with a 7-2 run in Game 1.

But Hebron settled down, eventually taking control with strong serving and solid passing and never letting up.

"Some of it was nervousness at the beginning of the match because of our inexperience but we got more comfortable as things went on," Conner said. "When we started scoring and got it to 9-9, I started to feel better."

After tying Game 1 at 9-9, Hebron went on a 11-4 run to go up 20-13, looking like it was going to finish off the Cavaliers (15-30). But Calvary responded with a 4-0 run behind the serving of Bri Olsen to get back in the game at 20-17.

However, the Lions closed out the first game with a 5-1 run, getting key kills from Madi Easterling and Alli Johnson.

The second game saw Hebron take control early, scoring the game's first five points with the help of Johnson's serving.

Serving, which has been a strong suit for Hebron all season as the Lions have landed over 90 percent of them, continued on Tuesday with only three serves either landing out or hitting the net.

"(Hebron) has some good hitters and played tough and we didn't do what we needed to do," Calvary head coach Karen Strickland said. "Hebron didn't let anything hit the ground."

Setting also proved to be huge as Anna Katherine Wilson continually fed the hitters up front. Eden Murray was the leading benefactor of Wilson with nine kills, while Bridgette Oduro finished with five kills.

"She's just a sophomore and already has over 1,000 kills," Olsen said of Wilson. "But she has a lot of weapons to use, which really helps."

Wilson also contributed to the strong serving, recording two of her three aces during a 4-0 spurt to close out the second game 25-11.

Game 3 saw the Lions open up with an 11-0 run as Hebron finished off the Cavaliers with a 25-6 rout. Ashleigh Thomas contributed with a couple of solid kills, while Courtney Civelli finished things off with the last five service points, including aces on the last two serves.

The tandem of Wilson feeding Murray also proved to be an advantage for the home team as the crowd eagerly cheered each assist and kill by the duo.

"I keep telling these girls that the bench is always good for two points and the home crowd is good for two," Conner said. "When (Murray) gets those sets, you know when she's going to go up with it and it's exciting."