Recap, highlights, interviews: Clinton at Midway volleyball

— If Tuesday represented the best shot anyone in the Southeastern Athletic Conference has of stopping Midway’s volleyball team this year, then Unstoppable the Raiders figure to be.

Midway, ranked 15th in the latest HighSchoolOT rankings for teams of all classifications in the eastern half of the state, took down Rival Clinton 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-15).

The secret behind the Raiders’ success is no secret at all.

Middle hitter Morgan Hall, outside hitter Blair Baggett, libero McKenzie Williams, and Setters Jacie Byrd and Morgan Naylor give the Raiders a Quintet that showcases the team’s all-around strength — the Raiders are good at the net, good defensively, and a superb passing team.

“We’ve just played together since we were 8-9 years old and our chemistry is incredible,” Williams said. “We know what to expect from each other, we trust each other, and I think that’s the key to our success right now.”

All of that was in focus, the Raiders jumped out to a dominant first set, 25-13, and in their resolve in the second set, which they won 25-22. Clinton (9-5, 4-1) was unable to mount the needed rally in the third set, which was decided by a 25-15 score.

“It’s a true sisterhood,” said Midway Coach Susan Clark. “I could just go on about all of them.”

Midway (13-0, 5-0) already owns five wins over teams in bigger classifications, including its best win of the season coming in the season opener, a 3-1 win over 4A Cleveland.

All of that was intentional, hoping to be battle-tested in order to make a Deeper playoff run this year. A season ago, Midway made a run to the fourth round of the NC High School Athletic Association 2A playoffs, falling to eventual state runner-up Camden County 3-0. Camden County is the only 2A team ranked higher than Midway in the HighSchoolOT East rankings, ranked 12th.

If the Raiders are to get past the Bruins, and other 2A East title threats — Bartlett Yancey, Whiteville (whom Midway defeated 3-1 this year), and Farmville Central come to mind — it would mean the Raiders are making their first volleyball state title appearance since 2002, when they finished runner-up in 1A.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” said Williams, but also added, “I think we can make it almost all the way. … I think we got this.”

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