Hailey Thompson, Jessica Beckner, Abby Carder, Te'Lor Allen, Sydni Addison and Caitlynn Irwin (from left) gather for a celebration at the net, following the conclusion of Murphy's three-set sweep over Swain on Tuesday night. The win clinched the Lady Bulldogs' first-ever undefeated season. Photo by KEVIN HENSLEY

Lady Bulldogs primed for playoffs

   UPDATE: The Murphy Lady Bulldogs received a bye in the first round of the state playoffs. They will host a second-round game at 6 p.m. Tuesday night, Oct. 24 against Mount Airy.

   Murphy – Something magical happened at Murphy High School on Tuesday night.

   Not only did the four Lady Bulldogs volleyball seniors get recognized for their contributions, but Murphy swept the Swain County Lady Devils in three sets: 25-13, 25-21, 25-12.

   This feat gave the Lady Dogs their first-ever undefeated season, as Murphy finishes the year at a perfect 20-0. The pursuit of an unblemished record is no longer the elephant in the room.

   Not too shabby for a team that graduated six seniors and turned in a 20-3 mark for the 2016 season.

   How sweet it is, indeed.

   "It's pretty awesome. It's kind of surreal," said head coach Nikol Edwards. "I'm not even really sure it's hit me yet. It's still kind of sinking in. I had to hold back tears talking to them, because they're an awesome group. They were ready. They weren't going to let anything stop them tonight. I'm proud of them. They've worked so hard and they deserve it."

   Now, the workload will only increase. Murphy is poised to clinch a No.1 seed in the state playoffs, which may or may not include a first-round bye on Saturday. However, the Lady Bulldogs fully understand the road that lies ahead.

   "We get to celebrate this for a few days, which is awesome," Edwards said. "But it's not over. It's kind of starting over. In the playoffs, everyone starts 0-0. It's up to them to keep rolling with it."

   Check back to this story throughout the week for continued updates on Murphy's state playoff seeding.

   The N.C. High School Athletic Association will be announcing the state playoff seeding this week. Murphy reached the second round last season, ultimately falling to East Surry in five sets and finishing with a 20-3 record.

   “The longer we can be home, the better. We don’t want to get on a bus until we have to,” Edwards said. “These girls experienced last year and don’t want to be second. Our goal since the summer has been to set goals and achieve them. They’re pretty adamant on doing that.

   “These girls have played together. They know what it takes. It was a great season last year. You get so close to what you’re trying to achieve and you don’t achieve it. It’s disappointing and they don’t want to feel that way. That’s not anything I’ve had to press; that’s all them.”

   Visit cherokeescout.com for information on Murphy’s first-round opponent.