Volleyball

Broughton sweeps Leesville Road, gets to fourth round

Posted October 29, 2015

Kati Smith (7) of Broughton High School. Leesville Rd. volleyball team traveled to Broughton on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 for the third round of the 4-A Volleyball state playoffs. The opening game was tight for the Pride but the Capitals ultimately won 3-0 (27-25, 25-13, 25-22) to advance to the fourth round. (Photo By: Beth Jewell/High SchoolOT.com)

— The third time was not the charm for the Leesville Road Pride.

The No. 9 Pride volleyball team traveled to Broughton on Wednesday and played the No. 1 Capitals tight in the opening game, but ultimately went down in straight sets as Broughton earned a 3-0 (27-25, 25-13, 25-22) win to advance to the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4-A volleyball state playoffs. It was the third win for Broughton this season over its Cap-8 Conference rival.

"We've seen them twice before, but every day they come out with something new and we didn't know what we were going to face," said Broughton senior Katja Ehlers. "We just had to come out and play our game and not focus on what they were doing, but what we could do to overcome them."

The Capitals will host the No. 5 Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders on Saturday. The Crusaders are the six-time defending 3-A volleyball champions but are in their first postseason as a 4-A program.

Leesville stayed close with Broughton for the entirety of the match's first game. Sydney Wilson, Colby Hopper and Ashley Jones all put up points for the Pride during a 4-0 run midway through the game, but Broughton battled back as Ehlers registered five of her 13 kills down the stretch. Broughton closed the game on a 4-1 run.

"We knew what their gameplan was going to be," said Leesville Road head coach Erin Hensler. "They have two great outside hitters who can put the ball down from anywhere on the court, so our gameplan was to shut them down as much as we could and make the other players hit more. What I feel really pushed us through this match was our players' heart."

Broughton head coach Jim Freeman said close sets were normal for the Broughton-Leesville rivalry this season.

"They're a difficult team to play," Freeman said. "They're experienced and they just really know how to play volleyball. They keep you uncomfortable."

The Capitals made the second game much more one-sided. Kalee Vanderhorst recorded eight kills for Broughton in the set and the team went on a dominant 12-1 run to go up 23-11 before coasting to another victory. The Pride never led in the third and final set.

Vanderhorst finished the game with a team-high 20 kills for Broughton. Ehlers finished with 13 kills, three aces and seven digs. Tiana Butler had six kills, two aces and four blocks. Kati Smith led Broughton with 38 assists.

The undefeated Capitals have lost just two sets this season and have only won in 3-0 sweeps since the start of the postseason. The team defeated Holly Springs and Apex to get to the third round.

"We try to not give away points, and use the serving game to keep the other team from running everything they want to run," Freeman said. "We have a lot of experienced kids who know how to play, and a lot of versatile kids who can take swings from everywhere."

The Pride's season is over after going 18-3 overall and taking second place in the Cap-8. The Pride's only losses came against the Capitals.

Follow Zach Mayo on Twitter at @ZachMayoHSOT

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