For the second consecutive match, the South Aiken High School volleyball team had to play on the road in the postseason. For the second time in a row, the Thoroughbreds pulled off an upset to keep their season and playoff run alive.

On Thursday, they beat Fort Dorchester 26-24, 21-25, 25-15, 25-15 in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs. When the T-Breds (20-13) play in the Lower State semifinal next Tuesday, it will be another road game – although this one won’t require a long bus ride. Their win sets up another showdown with crosstown rival Aiken High, who swept the T-Breds in their Region 5-AAAA meetings this season.

“We wanted to play Aiken High,” South Aiken head coach Laurie Ulmer said. “We’re ready. The girls are fired up and are looking at giving Aiken High a good game.”

To beat the Hornets, South Aiken will have to be at its best from the start. Ulmer said that wasn’t the case against Fort Dorchester.

The T-Breds trailed by as many as eight points in the opening game before rallying. Rather than gaining momentum, Ulmer said the squad came out flat en route to dropping the second game. It wasn’t until the third game that she said the T-Breds found their rhythm.

“Aubrey Owens decided it was time to play and started digging balls,” Ulmer said. “She was huge in the third game and we were passing the ball well. Nothing touched the floor.”

Owens tied for the team lead with 21 digs. Lauren Howard also had 21 digs and contributed in all facets of the game with 44 assists, 10 kills and 19 points won on her serve. Bailey Parker also had a big game for the T-Breds with 17 digs and 16 kills, while Lisa Herbold added five kills.

Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 14 years after graduating from Syracuse University.