Ashley Hall volleyball coach Franny Slay said her team's championship in the Porter-Gaud Invitational over the weekend was more like validation.
"It showed we're still up there near the top," said Slay, whose team beat the Cyclones 15-25, 25-21, 15-12. "Porter-Gaud has a strong program and it was nice for our girls to rebound. It gave us a chance to see where we stand and what we're standing on."
Porter-Gaud won last fall's epic SCISA Class AAA state championship with a 25-27, 25-16, 25-20, 25-21 victory over the Panthers, who made their 13th straight appearance in the championship. The Panthers were seeking their fourth straight title and 11th overall, but it wasn't meant to be on that particular night.
"Obviously, the girls worked very hard to be one of the top programs in the state," said Slay, who has more than 500 career coaching wins in 23 years as a coach. "Everyone is going to fall every once in a while. It's going to happen. We've got a lot of new faces and it was a hard-fought battle. It was good for us."
The Panthers beat Camden and Charlotte Latin en route to the title, and the team proved it still has talent despite graduation losses, including Catey Warren, The Post and Courier's player of the year.
Litsa Darby, first-team All-Lowcountry last fall, is a senior and was the MVP of the Porter-Gaud Invitational.
"She's been playing since the seventh grade," Slay said. "She never comes out of the game. She's a tremendous player."
Jessica Graham is back after earning second-team All-Lowcountry honors, while Lauren Hall and Ann Hill will have big roles in the team's success.
The Bluffton football team is proving to be more than a one-hit wonder. The Bobcats had their first winning season with a 12-2 record last fall and have continued to pack a punch so far this season. They have outscored foes 198-14 heading into Friday's game at Estill.
Eight players have rushed for touchdowns, led by Zach Scott's five, and four have caught touchdown passes, led by Dimitri Lowry's five. Quarterback C.J. Frazier has been impressive. He's completed 61 percent of his passes for 761 yards and 12 TDs.
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