CORNELIUS The best volleyball team in Hough High’s history is a win away from its first N.C. 4A title.
The Huskies advanced to the state championship for the first time in the school’s four-year history with a 3-1 victory against Mount Tabor on Hough’s home floor. Hough, which improved to 32-1, left no doubt about its strength, shaking off the Spartans’ best effort to recover from a 2-1 deficit with a dominant 25-16 win in the fourth set. The final is at 5 p.m. Saturday at N.C. State.
“I went to the final four a couple of times, but couldn’t get past this hump,” said Huskies coach Sandi Skidmore, who has led the program since the school opened. “I’m over the hump. That’s good.”
The Huskies made sure by playing up their assets, especially at the net. The senior duo of outside hitter Julia Brown and middle hitter Jazmine Lindor combined for 30 kills and forced Mount Tabor (24-4) to work around them. Although the Spartans found some success in spurts, Hough’s power and a partisan home crowd that roared with every Huskies point was difficult to overcome.
“The excitement for this game was crazy,” said Brown, an N.C. State signee who led Hough with 20 kills. “We were telling everybody to come out here, and that’s what helped us probably to win this game. You could feel it when you walked in the gym.”
Hough’s defense and passing keyed the Huskies’ attack, with Morgan Fisher and Jennifer Hart combining for 33 digs while Hart handed out 37 assists. When the ball moved forward, Brown and Lindor were in place to slam it home.
“Jazmine was on fire tonight,” Brown said. “She was killing it; she was blocking everything and she has been this whole playoff. I hope we’re all on this Saturday.”
After losing the first two sets 25-26 and 25-21, Mount Tabor recovered in the third by scoring seven of the first 10 points to win 25-20 behind setter Sam Smith’s passing. But Hough pulled itself together in the fourth set, sprinting to an 8-1 advantage and cruising down the stretch with Hart, Brown and Lindor sparking the attack.
“(Brown and Lindor) were on tonight, and I told Jen to feed them,” Skidmore said. “If they’re not blocked or stopped, get it to them. They’re our go-to girls and they did it tonight for us.”
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