PICKENS COUNTY — The Carolina One Volleyball 12 Regional Black Pickens Team captured its third straight Gold Championship at the Madness in the Mountains Tournament in Sevierville, Tenn.
The team played with intensity and shocked the K2 12-1 Adidas Elite Team by scores of 25-15, 25-27 and 17-15, handing the team its first loss of the season. The Adidas team was ranked second in the Southern Region, which includes clubs from Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.
K2 is a nationally recognized club, the No. 1 ranked club in Tennessee, and has long been a premier program in the Southern Region.
“This was a thrilling match and a huge victory for Carolina One,” Peggy Anthony, head coach, said of the event, held Feb. 6 and Feb. 7. “People are now talking about this special young team from the Pickens, S.C. area.”
In the finals, Libero Ali Pace led the defense, digging many hard-hit K2 balls, served 93 percent and led in aces with 5. Maggie Sizemore added 4, Lauren Dow had 3, Sky Moorrees had 2; and Bailee Earnhardt had 1.
Dow and Regan Powell served 100 percent. The Fire attack was led by Earnhardt with 6 assists, Megan Carpenter’s 10 kills, Calie Covey’s 6, and Dow’s 3.
Fire defeated C1 12 Royal Pickens 25-9, 25-16 in the first gold match then beat West Virginia Volleyball Club 12 Navy 25-12, 25-10.
Earlier in pool play action, Fire defeated C2 Attack 12 Orange from middle Tennessee, a co-ed team, 25-8, 25-8; Dynamite 12-1 from Dickson, Tenn., 25-11, 25-7, WVVC 12 Navy 25-4, 25-11, and Xcel 11x Mizuno from Asheville, N.C., by scores of 25-8, 25-5.
For the entire tournament, Pace led in aces with 29 and served 95 percent. Dow served 100 percent for the third straight tournament and had 22 aces. Sizemore served 96 percent and also had 22 aces, while Covey served 93 percent with 18 aces.
Hannah Campbell also served 100 percent. Covey had 40 kills, Carpenter had 21, Sizemore had 13 and Earnhardt had 12. Earnhardt added 34 assists, Dow added 28, and Powell had 9.
On March 5, Fire won its fourth Gold Championship at the Southern Classic at the Pavilion in Greenville. The 12U team played in the 13’s division and emerged as the best of 20 teams without losing a set.
In pool play, Fire defeated CSRA Heat 13 Black 25-17, 25-14; SOAR Wings 13U 25-21, 25-15; Myrtle Beach Volleyball Club 14 Black 25-12, 25-19 ; and Charleston Juniors 13 Blue 25-16, 25-21.
In the one-game semi-finals of Gold, Fire took a 25-17 victory over a team from Kingsport, Tenn., KVC 13-1.
In the finals, Fire blew away Extreme 13 in the first set 25-15, before coming from behind in the second set to take the win 27-25 for the title.
In the final match, Fire was led by Earnhardt with 5 kills and 5 assists; Carpenter with 4 kills and 1 block; Sizemore with 4 aces, Moorees with 3 aces and Pace’s numerous digs, saves and leadership.
For the entire tournament, leaders in serving were Earnhart with 15 aces, Carpenter with 13, Pace with 12, and Dow’s 100 percent serving out of 33 attempts. Offensive leaders were Dow with 29 assists; Carpenter with 20 kills, Earnhardt with 20 assists and 15 kills, and Covey with 15 kills. Pace again led the defense.