Lady Cardinals reach Upper State final in volleyball

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, November 4, 2009

After a slow start, the three-time defending South Carolina champion Lady Cardinals showed their mettle and ground the Christ Church Lady Cavaliers to a halt.

The first game went the way of the blue-clad Cavs, as they were in the right place at the right time more often than the home team.

Landrum coach Denise Riske called the first timeout of the match, trailing 7-10. The Cards did not fall behind by more than four points, and took the lead momentarily at 19-18. Game one was won, however, on a kill through a Cardinals wall, 21-25.

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It was the last time the Cavaliers tasted victory, and behind continual kills by Carolina Cann and Lindsay Elswick, the Cardinals advanced through the third round of the state playoffs to a date with rival Southside Christian.

(Cann and Elswick) are two outstanding all-around players,&dquo; said Landrum coach Denise Riske. &dquo;They add a lot to the team, and have learned that with a team, it takes everybody&squo;s effort at 100 percent.&dquo;

Cann, a senior, had 17 total kills and was part of&bsp; at least two successful blocks. Often, Cann rose and finished with a hand so heavy that the ball seemed invisible. She also made several impressive digs, and severed accurately each time she toed the stripe.

Elswick also rocked the gymnasium with a flurry of spikes, 14 altogether.

Libero Chelsea Smith had a good evening with her jumpserve, and it provided additional lift as Christ Church began to wear down in the final three games. Those Landrum wins came in at 25-17, 26-24, and 25-22, respectively.

Southside Christian now looms, a team that has already defeated the Cards twice this season. The Lady Sabres defeated a surging Greenville Tech team in straight sets prior to Landrum&squo;s win. Riske said she plans to strategize a little for the Lady Sabres, but not before saying that the first thing her team will do to prepare for the game is &dquo;practice.&dquo;

The winner of the third and final duel will claim the Upper State title and play for the 1A state championship on Saturday. Landrum&squo;s only two losses this season came against Southside, each time in four games.

Tonight&squo;s match begins at 6 p.m. at Southside Christian in Simpsonsville, S.C.