Advancing to the third round of the North Carolina 4A volleyball tournament left Myers Park High junior Virginia Humphries nearly speechless.
The Mustangs swept to the third round with a 3-0 win Tuesday against West Forsyth at Myers Park, redeeming themselves from last season’s first-round exit with their best effort of the season.
“It’s huge,” said Humphries, an outside hitter who led Myers Park (17-3) with 10 kills. “The last time coach (Bettie) Berrie was in the finals was maybe six or seven years ago. Last year, we got out in the first round, so it’s awesome to come here and win the first round, win the second round and we’re in the sweet 16. I don’t even know what to say.”
The Mustangs punched their ticket to the next round by using a balanced attack, passing and defense to keep the ball in play. Myers Park’s size and speed paid dividends at the net with 5-11 Humphries and 6-1 Katie Tylman (eight kills) forcing West Forsyth to work around them. Setter Julia Sutherland added 21 assists.
“We knew coming in they weren’t as big as us,” Humphries said. “We knew they were great on defense, so we worked in practice on hitting around blocks so if they did have a tall player we could hit around them. We practiced where their defense would be to hit at their weak spots.”
Myers Park cruised to wins in the first two sets 25-18 and 25-14, but West Forsyth (14-12) stormed to a 21-21 tie on outside hitter Kennedy Schmitt’s kill. The Mustangs responded with the next four points to close the match, punctuated by Humphries’ kill for the final point.
(The Titans) “have great ball control, play hard and play defense,” Berrie said. “That’s the best we’ve played all year, so hopefully we can elevate even further for the next round because if we’re going to keep playing after Thursday, we’re going to have to play even better.”
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