LONG BEACH -- Long Beach's quest for a third state championship in volleyball got off to a fast start Tuesday night in the Bearcat gymnasium.
The Bearcats turned back Sumrall 3-0 (25-15, 25-10, 25-13) in a Class II first-round state playoff match and will take on Germantown in the next round, playing either Thursday or Saturday.
Sumrall (11-10) jumped to a 4-1 lead in the first set. But Long Beach tied the set at 4-4 and the Bearcats (18-5) would never trail again the entire evening.
Senior Krystal Goodman, who finished with seven kills and five blocks, delivered three straight spikes in the first set after Sumrall had closed to within 19-15. Long Beach ran off the final six points of the first set in the 25-15 win and the first three points in the second set to set the tone.
Senior Payton Tillman dished out 16 assists. Senior Katelyn Carver add
ed 25 digs and sophomore Grace Matsenbaugh added three service aces.
Long Beach won the Region 7 title, and owns state championships in 2010 and 2011.
"This is our last chance," Goodman said. "We really want to go all the way. We have a great setup to get there, and we just need to keep working hard and it will fall into place.
"As soon as we get the momentum swing, we keep it going and it is awesome."
Sumrall was the Region 6 runner-up.
Long Beach bolted to a 12-5 lead in winning the second set 25-10, and then rushed to a 15-3 lead in the third set to set the tone for the 25-13 victory to clinch the match. Junior Bridget McMillian had two kills to propel that early outburst in the third set.
"The girls have progressed a lot this season, and we have a lot of senior leadership," Long Beach coach Rebecca Tillman said. "She (Goodman) was been strong for us in the middle and the whole season she has played lights out. We also have quite a few hitters across the front."