Lexington’s pursuit of history continues on Thursday when the Wildcats pack up for a long trip to the Lowcountry and a date with Wando in the Class 4A state volleyball Lower State championship match.
For years, the Wildcats were denied a shot at winning a state championship by parade of Upper State powerhouses, primarily the Dorman Cavaliers. In fact, Lexington is 0-6 in Upper State title bouts through the years with the most recent bitter loss coming against Hillcrest in 2006. Ironically, that disappointment came one round after the ‘Cats finally sent Dorman packing from the playoffs.
Now, Lexington is in the Lower State bracket, but the challenge remains just as great. Wando, after all, has been one of the top 4A programs since the classification debuted in 1975. The Warriors from Mt Pleasant won the first three big-school state championships under coach Linda White, and current mentor Alexis Glover has kept the tradition in tact during her long tenure. Wando’s resume includes nine Lower State titles and four state championships.
Glover’s Warriors, who won LS honors last year before falling to Hillcrest in the finale, earned the right to defend its Lower State title on Tuesday by dispatching Aiken, the last team to beat Lexington in a non-tournament setting, by a 3-1 count. Christina Glover, the daughter of the coach, had 25 kills in the win over the scrappy Green Hornets and setter Larz Chabra finished with 35 assists.
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Lexington (16-2 in non-tournament outings) passed a big test on Tuesday, beating tough Summerville, 3-1, in the Green Wave’s cozy volleyball gym. The first three games hotly contested from start to finish until the Wildcats scoeed a relatively easy 25-15 over the exhausted Wave in the decisive fourth game. The Wildcats prevailed 25-23 in the first game, saw the hosts score a 25-23 win in the second, and pulled out a tense 26-24 win in the third.
Kellie Schmidt and setter Laura Grace Swindler were outstanding again for the Wildcats. Schmidt, a junior outside hitter, had 35 kills, 13 digs, two assists and four aces, while Swindler had 48 assists, two kills, three digs, two blocks and three aces.
But Schmidt and Swindler were hardly the entire show. Lauren Owen had seven kills, 15 digs, one block and one ace. Jennifer Hoppe had eight kills and two blocks. Defensive specialists Aubrey Dooley and Kinsley Wade had eight and 12 digs, respectively, and Wade also chipped in two aces. Freshman middle hitter Kaitlyn Cobb had two kills and two blocks.