BREC triumphs over Highlands in epic 5-set match

Highlands girls varsity volleyball team hosted Blue Ridge Early College on Wednesday and took the Lady Bobcats to a tie breaking 5th set, but lost the match 3-2 to an undefeated BREC.

BREC Charlotte Sherrill puts a point on the scoreboard with a kill against Highlands.

BREC Coach Carlton Fowler said there was a lot riding on Wednesday’s outcome. If Highlands had won, they would have shared the championship with BREC. With the Lady Bobcats winning, BREC unofficially won the regular season championship and likely earned home court advantage in the first round of the state playoffs.

It was an emotional moment for Fowler who said he had envisioned this moment since the girls began playing together in 8th grade.

From left are BREC seniors Charlotte Sherrill, Chloe Fowler, and Maddy Potts who have all played together since 8th grade.

“This is four years of blood sweat and tears,” said Fowler. “They’re the reason we took this team because we saw what these girls are capable of. They have worked so hard and it’s so gratifying to see them reach their potential.”

Highlands Ava Schmitt launches for the kill against BREC.

The Lady Bobcats still have to play Nantahala on the road on Monday, but Fowler said if they pull off the win, they will be the first team of any sport in BREC history to go undefeated.

BREC Holly Foss serves Highlands.

Highlands Coach Desiray Schmitt said the Lady Highlanders had every reason to hold their heads high after the hard-fought match.

It was the first time this season the Lady Bobcats were forced into a tie breaker, and the two sets Highlands won are two of four BREC has lost all season. The Lady Highlanders also ended a streak of 4 consecutive shutouts by BREC.

Highlands India Clark goes for the kill with an injured Jordan Carrier in the background feeling the pressure on the sidelines.

Highlands lost the first two sets, rallied to win the next two, and lost a close tie breaker; 25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 15-10 respectively.

“They played really well, probably the best I’ve seen them play all season,” said Schmitt. “We hung with them in every game and we get better every time we play. The girls worked hard and they worked together as a team. They’ve wanted this win all season but there’s no reason to be upset, I’m proud of them.”

Highlands Gracie Watson goes for the kill against Highlands.

Highlands Ann Marie Moore puts one on the board against BREC.

BREC Maddy Potts serves the ball to Highlands.

Highlands Tessa Wisniewski passes against BREC on Wednesday.

BREC Chloe Fowler sets the ball against Highlands.

Highlands celebrates a hard-earned point.

BREC Mahalah Stewart sets the ball against Highlands.

From left are Highlands India Clark and Brandy Zagal catching a breather during Wednesday’s match.

BREC Holly Foss slams the ball down on the Highlands side of the fence.

Highlands Julia May Schmitt and BREC Maddy Potts both go for the ball on Wednesday.

Highlands Reese Schmitt digs a BREC kill.

BREC Mahalah Stewart serves the ball to Highlands.

Talk about a team having your back. Highlands India Clark flies through the air for the kill while her teammates cover.

BREC Maddy Potts digs a Highlands kill.

Highlands Emma Minton scores against BREC with a tip.

BREC Chloe Fowler passes against Highlands.

Highlands Julia May Schmitt kills the ball against BREC.

From left are BREC Mahalah Stewart and Chloe Fowler waiting for the serve to get into position.

Highlands Ann Marie Moore serves BREC.

BREC Gracie Watson kills the ball against Highlands.

Highlands Tessa Wisniewski (on right) is forced to bump the set and India Clark (on left) knows she is the best option for the kill.

BREC Maddy Potts passes against Highlands.

Highlands Emma Minton goes for the kill against BREC.

BREC Holly Foss sets the ball against Highlands.

Highlands Reese Schmitt passes the ball against BREC.

BREC Charlotte Sherril goes for the kill against Highlands.

Highlands Julia May Schmitt goes for the kill while BREC Holly Foss throws up a block with her fist.

From left are BREC Maddy Potts possibly being scolded by teammate Chloe Fowler for something.

From left on the ground are Highlands Ava Schmitt and Reese Schmitt laughing hard after a solid collision.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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