AIKEN — After a 10-day wait, Natasha Dicks and her Aiken volleyball teammates were ready for what they called a redemption match.
After losing to Lexington in a tournament final Sept. 8, the Hornets rebounded to sweep the Wildcats in a Region 5-AAAA match, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-22) Tuesday night.
“I was all ready to play them after we lost,” said Dicks, who had 14 kills in the win. “I just remember they got the last point and I was like, ‘Region, region, region. We got you in region.’ I was so ready.”
Aiken (11-4 overall, 3-0 region) won each close set by pulling away late. In two of the sets – the first and third – the teams were tied at 19. In the third, Lexington had a 22-21 lead.
But in every set, the Hornets got a spark and held on.
In the first, a Tyler Smith kill worked with a Wildcats miscue and timely tips from Dicks to create separation. Dicks, an All-State performer from a year ago, and Smith are the two veterans on the team.
Anna Tovo, another All-State player, is sidelined with a knee injury that will keep her out until late October.
In the second set, Aiken used an 8-2 run to go ahead 23-17. By then, the Hornets improved at recognizing Lexington’s tendency to use tip shots to get over the block. With some Wildcats attack errors and an ace from Emily Teelon, Aiken took the set.
Aiken then swept the match thanks to some clutch kills from Olivia Fiscus. Fiscus, who is taking on a bigger role with Tovo out, had five kills in the match. But her last one was perhaps the most significant: it broke a 22-22 tie as the Hornets wound up scoring the last four points of the set and match.
“They’re growing,” Aiken coach Malynda Young said. “They’re working on communication. In each game, I see a little bit more, and they’re growing a little bit more as a team. If they keep doing this, we’ll still have a really good season.”