Lady Blue Flame take third in tourney, still unbeaten in region

SPARTANBURG — The Pickens High School Lady Blue Flame volleyball team placed third in the prestigious Tournament of Champions at Spartanburg’s Dorman High School over the weekend, taking down several 5A schools along the way.

The Pickens girls also defeated region foes Easley and Travelers Rest last week, remaining undefeated in Region I-4A play.

“What an amazing week Blue Flame volleyball had,” Pickens coach Rikki Owens said. “From the start of the week with sweeping wins over two region teams to facing amazing competition in the Tournament of Champions hosted by Dorman High School. Finishing third overall, we had the opportunity to face several top 5A schools, which allowed us to hone in on weaknesses to fix before we dive into the rest of our regular season and playoffs. We are so grateful for the opportunities and can’t wait to get back in the gym and get better.”

Junior setter/right-side hitter Lauren Dow, senior libero Bailee Earnhardt and senior middle Caroline Lucas were named to the All-Tournament Team at the Dorman tournament.

During the Dorman tournament, the Lady Blue Flame lost the opening match to 5A host Dorman High before running off a string of victories against 5A Rock Hill, Ashley Hall of Charleston, 5A Lexington High, St. Joseph’s of Greenville and 5A River Bluff High of Lexington before losing to 5A Mauldin High in the semifinals.

“We faced incredible competition, and our young ladies fought with much determination and heart as our only losses were to 5A Dorman and Mauldin,” Lady Blue Flame assistant coach Pamela Clarkson said. “This tournament was a valuable opportunity, as it has shown us specific areas to work on as we continue throughout the remainder of our season.”

The Pickens volleyball team downed cross-county rival and region foe Easley at home on Sept. 21 in straight sets. The Lady Blue Flame then traveled to region opponent Travelers Rest Sept. 23 and won another straight-set victory.

Pickens’ record stands at 22-3 on the season, with all three losses against 5A schools. The Flame are 3-0 in region play.

The Lady Blue Flame are scheduled to play two region matches this week at home in the friendly confines of Coach Peggy Harden Anthony Gymnasium. The first was Tuesday against region opponent Westside, with results too late for press time. The second region match of the week will be Thursday evening against Walhalla. The junior varsity match is set to begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the varsity match.