The victory marked the first state playoff win in school history after the Lady Trojans qualified for the postseason in 2011 as a Class AAA program, but fell in the first round.
On Wednesday, the second-seeded Lady Trojans (28-7) left little doubt about the outcome, collecting 25-12, 25-8 and 25-11 triumphs over the third-seeded Lady Raiders.
Second-year Carrollton coach Kasey Austin said her team came out and followed the blueprint for success from the opening serve.
“It felt pretty good. We’ve been working all week on our defense and coming out strong, so I’m glad we were able to do that. That’s what we’ve been focusing the most on — blocking, digging, covering up our holes,” Austin said. “I thought we were way more aware of the court than we have been. I just hope this can carry us forward through the tournament.”
The Lady Trojans advance into the round of 16, where they will face the winner of No. 1 South Effingham/No. 4 Americus-Sumter on Tuesday evening at a time to be determined.
Should the top-seeded and seventh-ranked Lady Mustangs (33-5) win, Carrollton would have to make the long haul to Guyton, while the Lady Trojans would host should Americus-Sumter pull the first-round stunner.
South Effingham entered the postseason on a 25-match winning streak.
Carrollton was led by Kate Marshall in the Game 1 victory with eight service points, while Lauren Sanders delivered 12 service points in the second game and Olivia Huffman recorded eight service points in the finale.
Carrollton never trailed in Game 1 or Game 2 and faced its only deficit of the evening at 2-0 in Game 3 before going on a 13-3 run to take control of the match.
Austin said getting out to the early lead in each game helped keep the nerves at bay.
“I think so. As long as they’re not too relaxed. That’s the key. But it was a good team effort. Everybody contributed to the points. Seventy-five points, that’s all we had to get,” Austin said. “That’s what our goal was — keep it at three [games] and just play 75 points and not get tired.”
In moving from the regular season to the playoffs, it switches from a best-of-three scenario to a best-of-five competition, something Austin said her team has been getting acclimated to during the past week.
“That was our big thing last Saturday. We were just worn down from playing all day. The best three-out-of-five were killers. So we’ve been working on getting ready for that,” Austin said.