Seemingly each time Kendall Williams had the ball at the line, the Westside volleyball team moved another point closer to the next round of the playoffs.
Williams’ serving led Westside to a win over Early County in the first round of the Class AA State Tournament on Wednesday.
The Lady Patriots won in three consecutive games to cruise to the first-round victory. They will play host to an undetermined second-round opponent on Tuesday.
Westside came out charging to a 12-5 lead over Early County in the first game, but the Lady Bobcats inched back to within four at 14-10. The Lady Patriots quickly turned a corner, however, and shut the door with Williams’ serves, earning a 25-14 win.
“You keep pressuring them no matter who you’re playing,” Williams said. “You have to keep pushing. I think that’s what we’re good at, is finishing and taking care of business.”
Westside never let Early County hold a lead, earning wins of 25-11 and 25-15 in the next two games to close out the victory.
The Lady Partriots benefited from the serving of Williams more than ever in the second game, as she picked up four consecutive aces. Her low lining serves baffled the Lady Bobcats, who couldn’t get a firm return on the ball. She totaled seven aces in the match.
“It’s low. It floats. It looks like a knuckleball,” Westside coach David Bradberry said. “She did get on a roll. She got us a little distance in the first game, and then she got on a roll in the second game, as well. That’s one of our strengths as a team is our servers.”
Bradberry said his team was sluggish and not vocal enough early in the match, which helped Early County remain in the first game. The Lady Bobcats hit the ball back over the net on the first attempt more often than passing and serving to one another, which was an adjustment the Lady Patriots had to make.
“When we serve the ball, it’s right back in our face,” he said. “You have to play that one, too. We handled it ultimately.”
Ty Ravenell led Westside with seven kills. Jahmia Bradley, Marian Ware and Callie Huggins each had six.