North Myrtle Beach ran into a buzzsaw Tuesday night against James Island, falling to the Trojans in straight sets in the first round of the 4A state volleyball playoffs.
The Chiefs, the reigning state champions, came into the match with a 13-4 record. They won their region this fall and earned a No. 1 seed. James Island (15-9) reached the playoffs courtesy of an at-large berth, but the seeding didn't matter Tuesday. A relentless front line propelled the Trojans to set victories of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-12. The Chiefs battled close early in the third set but James Island pulled away to seal the win.
This year’s North Myrtle Beach lineup was missing several standouts who led the team to a second straight title state title last year. New head coach Megan Griffin said she is proud of this year’s young squad and looks forward to next year with 13 returning underclassmen.
Assistant coach Ralph Lunati called this season “phenomenal,” especially in light of the trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 restrictions.
“Obviously, this isn’t the way we wanted the season to end,” Lunati said. “But the effort and resilience these girls showed in this unusual season was incredible. The adversity they faced and to still have such a great season makes us all very proud.”
Myrtle Beach, the other 4A team from Horry County to reach the playoffs, fell in straight sets (25-7, 25-10, 25-16) to No. 1 seed Hilton Head on Tuesday. The Seahawks reached the playoffs via an at-large berth.
This will be the first year since 2016 that an Horry County team does not win the 4A state volleyball title. Myrtle Beach won the championship in 2017 before North Myrtle's run of back-to-back titles.