HOLLY SPRINGS — There was still a chance for Holly Springs, up late in game three in its home first-round playoff game against Person on Saturday. But the visiting Rockets rallied, and the third team from the PAC-6 Conference bounced the third-best team from the Tri-9 Conference with a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-22, 25-22).
Holly Springs was led by Jaclyn Brewington, a sophomore, with nine kills, while Kaelyn Dyson posted seven and Mackenzie Reaves added five.
The trio helped the Hawks to a 20-15 lead in the third game, but the Rockets closed the match with a 10-2 run. Liana Solomon (13 kills), Jessica Goodwin (12) and Karlie Long (10), all seniors, fueled the Rockets attack.
“It really helps to have the stability and experience of seniors out there,” said Person coach Hope Heverly, who starts five seniors. “They all have their moments when they stand out, and we are very sound defensively.”
Person (19-4) will play at Wakefield in the second round on Tuesday. The Golden Hawks lost to Wakefield in a tough five-game match early in the season and were hoping for a rematch.
“We would have loved to have a second chance with them (Wakefield), that first one was so close,” Holly Springs coach Jennifer Ivanoff said. “These last two years the chemistry between our girls has been great. I’m looking forward to next season.”
Ivanoff will miss her graduating seniors, which include Morgan Barker, Kimberly McNeill, Marissa Starett and Callie Hennis. The quartet saw Holly Springs (15-6) rise from a team who finished in the bottom half of the Tri-9 to a group who came in third place two years in a row, just behind state powers Apex and Green Hope.
“I’ve had a good time playing all four years, but the last two have been really exciting making it to states,” said Barker.
Holly Springs returns four starters in 2013.
“I’m very happy with the way the girls played, the way we moved and our defensive effort,” said Ivanoff. “I wish it was a different outcome, but Person played awesome defense and just wouldn’t let our shots drop.”