Mabel, Green Valley advance in tournament
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
There were no surprises in the first round of the Watauga County Middle School Tournament Tuesday.
No. 1-seeded Mabel cruised to a 25-7, 25-10 victory over No. 8-seeded Valle Crucis in the first game played at Lentz-Eggers Gym. Green Valley, seeded second, beat No. 7-seeded Parkway 25-21, 25-16.
Mabel took advantage of the serving of Grace Hagaman, who served the first 18 points of the first game. Hagaman had five aces during the stretch, and Valle Crucis could not return an additional seven other serves.
Hagaman finally let go of her grip on Valle Crucis by serving the ball in the net, but the damage was already done. The teams traded points for the rest of the set before the Mustangs claimed the victory.
Hagaman got the Mustangs started in a similar fashion in the second set by serving the first 12 points. She had back-to-back aces that gave Mabel a 7-0 lead, which was followed by a kill from Taylor Guy to give the Mustangs an 8-0 lead.
Valle Crucis could not return four other of Hagaman's serves during the stretch.
Valle Crucis showed some life in the second game after falling behind 14-2. The Cougars closed to within 10 points in numerous occasions, but could never get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Mabel plays in the semifinals vs. Blowing Rock winner at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Lentz-Eggers Gym.
(2) GREEN VALLEY VS. (7) PARKWAY
Green Valley, seeded second in the tournament, had a much tougher time with Parkway, which was seeded seventh. Their match was also played in Lentz-Eggers Gym.
Parkway stayed even with the Eagles, and even took an 10-9 lead following an ace by Kassie Eller. Green Valley pulled even at 13-13 and then went on a 3-0 run to take a 16-13 advantage.
The Eagles never led by more than three points until a mistake by Parkway gave Green Valley a 24-20 lead. A mistake by Green Valley gave the Patriots a point, but Green Valley won the set on the next point.
The second set started equally as close until Green Valley broke the game open by taking a 20-12 lead. Parkway rallied to within 20-16, but a Green Valley won a rally on a point, and then Chloe Walczak served an ace to put the Eagles in front 22-16.
That kept the Eagles run, already a 2-0 burst, going into a final 5-0 run and a set victory.
Green Valley plays in the semifinals against Hardin Park at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Lentz-Eggers Gym. The finals are at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Lentz-Eggers.