Tourney time: Lady Titans host Mallard Creek in 4A playoffs

McDowell's Zoe Vance (10) hits the ball at the next during a recent win. The Lady Titans host Mallard Creek today in the second round of the State 4A Playoffs (5 p.m. start). Note: Vance was incorrectly identified as Eavan Smith in last Friday's paper.

Note: "Today" in the story refers to Tuesday.

The McDowell Lady Titans volleyball team begins its postseason this evening with quite a formidable challenge, taking on the Mallard Creek Lady Mavericks in second-round action of the 4A state volleyball tournament.

First tip is slated for 5 p.m. inside Titan Gymnasium.

McDowell (7-13), the Northwestern Conference’s lone 4A representative, enjoyed a first-round bye on Saturday but all attention shifts to today’s encounter against a 20-win Mallard Creek squad that easily disposed of neighboring I-Meck foe North Mecklenburg in three games in Saturday’s playoff opener (25-14, 25-15, 25-12).

The Lady Mavericks (20-7) finished second in a very competitive I-Meck Conference this season behind league champion Hough (22-5). Mallard Creek has put together an impressive run here in the second half of the 2017 season, winning 11 of their past 13 matches. Juniors Skyy Howard and Sydney McGregor lead Mallard Creek in kills from the outside hitter position.

Howard (6-2) averages just over 14 kills per match while McGregor (5-10) and third outside hitter Logan Long have posted just under five kills per match for the Lady Mavericks. Mallard Creek will present one of the tallest lineup’s that the Lady Titans have seen all season long, including two players above 6-feet and six more players measuring 5-foot-10 or taller.

McDowell is riding a little momentum going into the playoffs, having won its last two matches and sliding into the postseason.

Today’s match will be the Lady Titans’ first playoff berth since the 2013 season.

Most of the offensive attack has come from the Lady Titans’ trio of senior outside hitters, Lily McKinney, Taylor Buchanan and Lauren Hudgins.

All three of the girls on the outside have produced multiple double-figure kills in matches this season. Bailey Elliott and Parker Brown have also played a big role in McDowell’s scheme, leading the team in assists and digs respectively.

The winner of today’s match will play either Richmond County or Lake Norman in the third round on Thursday.


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