VARSITY VOLLEYBALL: Lady Tigers reach 2A West Regional final for 1st time since 2005

Foard’s Sierra Ward (12), Sarah Lingle (14) and Dara Shaffer (6) celebrate Haley Johnston’s (3) big third set play in the 3-0 sweep over South Rowan in Copas Gymnasium. (Photo by Brian Hendrix)he Foster sisters -- Jamianne (17) and Martina (20) going for a block on Saturday. (Photo by Brian Hendrix)
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

The Fred T. Foard Lady Tigers’ varsity volleyball team has done it again.

In a home encounter with No. 5-seed South Rowan (28-2) on Saturday, November 2, the No. 1-seeded Lady Tigers (30-1) pulled out yet another 3-0 sweep on Linda Richards Court.

Both teams entered the West Regional quarterfinal with only one loss apiece -- Foard’s came against Watauga on October 10 in a 3-2 loss while South Rowan’s came against rival West Rowan on August 26 in a 3-0 loss.

With the win over South Rowan, Foard has now won 27 of its 30 matches via a sweep.

In the first set, the Lady Tigers were serving the ball nicely as it earned three quick aces (six in the set.) Along with that and some good play in the middle, Foard took an early 9-2 lead.

Last season’s conference player of the year, Michelle Thao dominated early en route to finishing with seven kills in the first set.

The home team also did well on defense as it earned three blocks in the set -- two coming from sophomore Martina Foster. This play led to a 25-16 set win.

Strong hitting in the second set, along with four miscues put Foard ahead, 14-7. Six different players scored for the Lady Tigers -- including Martina as she earned three kills. On defense, Sierra Ward picked up two sound blocks en route to a 25-13 set victory.

In the third set, however, Foard faced some early pressure and found itself in a four-point hole. That was until Haley Johnston made the turning point play, down 10-9.

Johnston dove for the ball on a one-handed save that somehow made it over the net for a 10-10 deadlock. She followed suit with an ace of her own to put Foard ahead, 11-10.

The Lady Tigers kept its composure as it pushed itself out in front for its biggest lead of the third set, 19-16.

The middle blockers held off South Rowan to secure the 25-18 win.

Johnston finished with 17 assists and five aces. Thao earned nine kills, six digs and two aces. The Foster sister (Martina and Jamianne) combined for nine blocks while Ward earned four.

Megan Dorsey had a team-high 10 kills to go along with seven digs. Sarah Lingle and Dara Shaffer were there for the hustle plays in the middle as they combined for 19 digs.

Foard battles No. 2-seed Brevard in the Regional final on Tuesday.