Highlands varsity volleyball team will host Blue Ridge Early College tonight at 6 p.m., and there’s a lot on the line, not to mention tonight is Highlands’ Senior Night.
Highlands conference record is 5-0, BREC’s is 4-1.
If Highlands wins tonight, they will be the sole conference champions and would get first seed in the conference tournament and better placement in the state playoffs. If BREC takes the win, it would be a shared conference championship and BREC and Highlands would draw out of a hat for their position in the tournament.
BREC Vanessa Russell returns a Murphy serve.
Highlands beat BREC 3-0 last time they faced off against each other on Oct. 4, so the Lady Bobcats are expected to be looking for some payback.
Highlands Coach Kaitlin Bishop said tonight should be exciting.
“Blue Ridge is definitely going to come in and give us their best,” said Bishop. “I am sure in their heads they want nothing more than to come in and beat us on our senior night and to also give them a chance to share the conference with us. One thing I have stressed to my girls all year is really focusing on what we can control. We can control doing the little things on our end; making our serves, communicating, getting the ball over the net and keeping it in bounds. We try to focus most on us and do what we can to give us the best opportunity to win. I think we will have a good crowd to give an exciting atmosphere for both teams.”
Highlands India Clark launches to server Rabun County at home.
Bishop added that BREC is always a big rivalry game and with tonight being Senior Night, it means a lot to their seniors.
“We lost a big group last year so these girls knew they had some big shoes to fill, and they really have worked hard all year to put us at the top for the conference,” said Bishop. “With a big group of seniors this year I feel there is no better way for them to go out than being conference champs. We set that as one of our goals at the beginning of the season and I feel like it could be a great confidence booster for us as we head into the conference tournament next week and then into the state playoffs.”
BREC Macy Heltsley launches for a kill against Murphy.
Highlands Aislynn Luck sets the ball against Rabun County.
BREC Mercedes McLaughlin stuffs a Murphy kill.
Highlands Caitlin Tingen tips it for a point against Rabun County.
BREC Vanessa Russell races to keep the ball in play against Murphy.
Highlands Karmen Jenkins returns a Rabun County serve.
BREC Izzy Moody passes against Murphy at home.
Highlands Ezra Branham tips the ball for a point against Rabun County.
BREC Peyton Bryson digs a Rabun County kill.
Highlands Ashlynn Wilson kills it against Rabun County.
BREC Mac Woods scores on a tip against Murphy.
From left are Highlands Anna Nichols and Mac Woods ready to return Rabun Gap’s serve at home.
BREC Mercedes McLaughlin slams it down for a point against Murphy.
Highlands Bella Wilson kills it for a point against Rabun Gap. Also pictured at the top of the article.
BREC Mahala Stewart slams a kill down against Murphy at home.
Highlands India Clark crushes it for a point against Rabun Gap.
BREC Peyton Bryson serves to Rabun County at home.
Highlands Aislynn Luck digs a Rabun County kill.
BREC Izzy Moody sets it against Murphy.
Highlands Karmen Jenkins serves to Rabun County.
BREC Mahala Stewart stuffs Rabun County.
Highlands Anna Nichols is set to return Rabun Gap’s serve.
BREC Macy Heltsley keeps the ball in play after a blocked hit.
Highlands Ezra Branham crushes it for a point against Rabun Gap.
BREC Mercedes McLaughlin scores a point against Rabun COunty.
Highlands Ashlynn Wilson blocks a Rabun Gap kill.
BREC Vanessa Russell scores on a kill against Rabun County.
Highlands celebrates after Bella Wilson slams down a kill against Rabun Gap.
BREC Mahalah Stewart hangs in the air just long enough to ensure the ball stayed on Murphy’s side of the net.
Highlands India Clark goes through her serving routine before acing Rabun Gap.
Lady Bobcats celebrate a hard fought set against Murphy.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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