Porter-Gaud Cyclones take title, Cathedral also wins
The Porter-Gaud volleyball team reigns supreme in SCISA.
The Cyclones captured their third straight Class AAA state title with a 25-15, 25-20, 25-17 victory over crosstown rival Ashley Hall on Monday night in front of about 750 fans at the College of Charleston’s TD Arena.
Cathedral Academy, meanwhile, won the Class A state title with a 25-16, 14-25, 25-23, 25-18 victory over Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach. The match was held at Wilson Hall High School in Sumter.
The Cyclones topped the Panthers four times this season, and the championship match capped an outstanding run for four seniors: Julia McAvoy, Ali Waters, Lexie Meyer and Bailey Crump.
“This is unbelievably special to me,” Porter-Gaud coach Ashley Heidtke said. “It’s not very often you have a group of girls who get along, come to practice, work hard and have the talent level we have. That’s an unbelievable combination.”
The Cyclones or Panthers have won every Class AAA state title since 2003. The Panthers were playing in their 14th straight title match despite losing six seniors from last year’s team.
“Porter-Gaud, this is their third straight trip. They were favored to win and did a fantastic job,” Ashley Hall coach Franny Slay said. “But we played our hearts out. We basically have two seniors in the starting lineup so we will have a lot of players back next year. We graduated six seniors, all starters. This year’s team hasn’t played together that long. I liked their hustle and the heart they showed this season.”
McAvoy played in the final volleyball match of her career. Her college plans don’t include the sport.
“It can’t feel any better than this,” she said. “We played a perfect first game, and I didn’t expect to win it by that type of score. Obviously, winning that first state title was special, but winning three in a row feels pretty good, too.
“I don’t think it’s really hit me that this was my last game,” McAvoy said. “I’m really happy right now. But I’m sure it will hit me, and I will feel a little sad.”
Waters began her career at Ashley Hall but transferred after her freshman year. She was behind another great setter, Litsa Darby, who graduated last year after being named The Post and Courier’s player of the year and earning a scholarship to play for the USC Gamecocks.
“Ashley Hall had won about six straight state championships,” Waters said. “I was on the good side and switched without knowing what to expect. I helped my team win three state championships, which is more than I ever dreamed.”
Cathedral Academy made its first appearance in the Class A championship since 2005 a memorable one with the victory over Christian Academy. It was the first state volleyball title in school history.
“It was amazing,” coach Kylie Roberts said. “The girls played with a lot of heart and with the Lord. That third game was close and a huge momentum swing. It was a case of who would be the last team standing.”
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil.