His team's postseason spot already secure, Al Stern just wanted to see a sharp performance Tuesday.
And the Bluffton High School volleyball team did not disappoint its coach. The Bobcats rolled to two-game victories over Ashley Ridge and Battery Creek, spoiling the Dolphins' Senior Night and setting up a home playoff date next Tuesday with the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAA.
Stern's team, second to champion Hilton Head High School in Region 7-AAA, appeared to be over its loss to the rival Seahawks from the week before.
"I was happy with it," Stern said. "Sometimes when you get way ahead, you start to fool around. They just kept right on going doing what they're supposed to do."
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Battery Creek, which defeated Ashley Ridge the previous two times the teams met this season, fell to the Swamp Foxes in three games, 24-26, 15-9, 29-27. The Dolphins are the No. 4 seed from Region 7 and will travel to face the No. 1 seed from Region 6 next week.
"I'm not really sure how that's going to work out for us," Battery Creek coach Stephanie Weltz said. "I don't know how to say that nicely."
Forgive Weltz if she sounds concerned with her team's prospects. The injury-riddled Dolphins suffered another big loss Tuesday when setter Margie Craven sat with a sore shoulder. Weltz said Craven could be out for the season and that her setter had been told previously the injury could require surgery. Battery Creek senior Megan Peola was out sick Tuesday, Tina Kwok sported ice on a shoulder following Tuesday's matches and numerous other Dolphins are suffering from one thing or another, Weltz said.
Against Ashley Ridge, a team Battery Creek had handled well in previous matches, the Dolphins twice served for match point during the third game but could not close the victory.
Bluffton quickly overpowered Battery Creek to win 25-5, 25-7. The Bobcats beat the Swamp Foxes in similar fashion, coasting in two games, 25-9, 25-6.
Mackenzie Cooler led the Bobcats with 10 kills on the night. Freshman Jordan Franklin had 10 assists to help defeat the Dolphins. And Bluffton's Dani Bothe managed six assists against Ashley Ridge.
Stern said Bluffton's focus was on its transitions, moving from offense to defense with ease, which he said the Bobcats did well Tuesday. He also praised the lack of service and hitting errors.
With nothing but practices left before the opening round of the Class 3-A playoffs, Stern said he feels his team is in the right spot.
"I think that in every respect, the team has consistently gotten better," he said. "This is the time you want to play your best."