Bishop England’s volleyball team played its Lower State semifinal playoff match against Academic Magnet as if they had early dinner plans on Monday night.
The Lady Bishops needed less than an hour to sweep three games against the Raptors, winning 25-7, 25-17, 25-7 to advance to the Class AA Lower State finals. Bishop England improved to 37-7 overall this season, while Academic Magnet fell to 21-5, with three losses coming to Bishop England.
Senior Mary Harriet Moore had 11 kills and Sawyer Swanson contributed 25 assists as Bishop England was threatened only briefly in the match.
“We prepare for this time of year all season long,” said Bishop England coach Cindy Baggott.
“That’s why we play the tournaments that we play during the year and try to schedule tough teams as often as possible. We want to be prepared for whatever we face.
“It doesn’t matter who is across the net, we have to execute and we have to limit our errors. We have to play smart and stay focused. We want to play at a certain level every night.”
Though far from perfect, Bishop England was clearly the dominant team, opening up a 10-2 lead in the first game as Moore had six kills.
Bishop England jumped out to a 10-3 lead in Game 2, but the Raptors had their best run of the night, using a 12-3 run to close within a point at 16-15. The run forced Baggott to call her only timeout of the match and the Lady Bishops responded by winning eight straight points.
“We just lost some focus and started playing safe as opposed to being aggressive like we were when the match started,” Baggott said. “I feel like we got kind of complacent. We have to continue to cut down on our mistakes. As a coach, I just want more consistency.”
Bishop England scored the first seven points in Game 3, and Academic Magnet would get no closer than five points the rest of the way. Bishop England ended Game 3 by scoring the final eight points.
“Our defense and our passing was very good tonight,” said Baggott. “Our back row did a great job and for me that’s the game. If we are playing well defensively and passing well, that makes everything else look good.”
Bishop England will host the Lower State championship match on Wednesday against either Waccamaw or Dillon.
Bishop England is seeking a 14th consecutive state title and 24th overall. Their 23 titles is a national record.