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Prep Volleyball: Salisbury plays well in CCC final loss

By Mike Duprez
Lexington Dispatch
LEXINGTON – Central Davidson was already assured of a No. 1 seed in the upcoming 2A volleyball state playoffs, so a loss in the Central Carolina Conference tournament championship game wouldn’t have cost the Spartans anything.
But there was another kind of incentive – Central’s impending departure from the CCC.
The top-seeded Spartans added to their historic regular season title with a 25-20, 26-24, 25-22 win over a vastly improved Salisbury team in the tournament title game on Thursday at Central.
Central, which is moving to the 3A Mid-Piedmont Conference beginning with the 2013-14 school year, improved to 16-5. The Spartans will host a playoff match.
Salisbury (12-6), which had advanced with a 3-0 win over West Davidson in the semifinals, gave ground grudgingly the entire match.
“We’ve been working pretty hard, trying to work on a lot of different things,” said Salisbury coach Mallory Hodge, whose third-seeded team will be on the road for a playoff game Saturday. “We’ve been trying to improve with each practice, each game.”
People in the conference are taking note, too. Salisbury used to be almost noncompetitive in volleyball.
Not anymore.
“They have improved a ton,” said Central coach Melissa Skeen, whose team ended West Davidson’s streak of 19 years of winning or sharing a conference championship. “I’m proud of their girls because they worked hard tonight. They gave us a run for our money, that’s for sure.”
Salisbury had a strong presence at the net with Bria Gardner, Cortney Gillispie, Nyasia Harris and Brielle Blaire.
There were no big leads in the second game and the the Hornets surged ahead 22-19 with the help of a pair of kills by Blaire and a Maddie Gentry ace. They had game point at 24-23 on a Gardner kill. But a serve into the net and a hitting error gave Central game point. Central put it away with a cross-court kill.
The third game was tied 22-22 on a Blaire kill and it could have had a two-point lead if Gardner hadn’t touched a ball heading out of bounds several points earlier.
While Central celebrated, the Hornets could take something positive away, too.
“We’ve tried to work on that all season, not giving up, trying to work hard for every point,” Hodge said, “We want to keep our focus and do the best we can.”•NOTES: Playoff pairings will be announced later in the week. … Blaire and Gardner each had eight kills.

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