Local preps take second at AAU National Championship

  • Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Carolina Islanders earned second at the AAU National Championships Monday. PROVIDED

Carolina Islanders 17 Elite volleyball club finished second in the country at the AAU National Championships Monday in Orlando, Florida.

The Islanders are led by former Bishop England assistant coach Bubby Khoury and include Wando volleyball players Elisa Aldrich, Megan Morris, Maggie Marsh, Daley Gosnell, Sydney De Jong, along with Lowcountry preps Mckala Rhodes, Mary Siebert and Harrison Novak.

The Islanders fell, 25-16, 25-23, in straight sets to Florida’s Ocala Power United 17 in the championship match. It was the Islanders’ fourth match of the day as they reeled off three wins that morning by a combined six sets against two.

The two teams traded games through the beginning of the first set until high school All-American hitter Ashley LaBorde sparked a five-game run to help the Power take control. LaBorde racked up eight kills and an ace while guiding the Power to a 21-14 lead and eventually the set win.

Aldrich, an all-state hitter at Wando, controlled the net for the Islanders in the second set, limiting the Power’s strikes and turning blocks into points. She gave the Islanders a 9-8 lead with a block, and later a 12-11 lead with tip over the Power’s front line. Aldrich finished with seven kills, five blocks and two block assists.

The Islanders built a 17-14 advantage before miscues stalled the charge. The Power regained a 21-19 lead off of three consecutive unforced errors. The Islanders tied the set at 22 but LaBorde fittingly sealed the match with a powerful strike at the net past the Islanders’ front line.

Rhodes turned in seven digs, five kills, De Jong added four blocks and two block assists, and Morris seven digs.

The Islanders finished the tournament 12-2 overall with 24 set wins, just seven losses and a point ratio of 1.25, fifth highest in the 87-team field. Aldrich, Marsh and Siebert were each selected to the all-tournament team.

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