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Lady Warriors prepare

MERRY HILL – It’s familiar territory, but that doesn’t mean Bill Swain is taking it lightly.

The Lawrence Academy Lady Warriors, who have played in the state championship series for the past four consecutive years, will begin their quest to get there again this season today (Tuesday).

The Lady Warriors, seeded second in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs, will host Northwood Temple in the opening round of the playoffs.

“To be honest, we don’t know much about them right now,” Swain, the head coach of the Warriors, said. “We know they’re 11-5 on the season and they are the number seven seed. That’s about it.”

The Warriors (20-1) were seeded second despite having a better overall record than top-seeded Cape Fear Christian School (15-1). That didn’t bother Swain.

“Last year they were ranked number one most of the year, but we got the top seed because we were the defending state champions,” Swain said. “This year they are the defending state champions, so I think it was right to give them the top seed.”

As he focuses on today’s outing with Northwood Temple, Swain said he will need his team to do three things.

“We’re going to need good pitching, which we have been getting,” Swain said. “We’re going to have to hit better than we have been and we’re going to have to continue to play defense.”

Swain said he believes the Warriors will come through with what they need to do despite having a single senior and one junior on the team.

He said he will count on those players who have been there before.

“I feel like we’ll go as they go,” he said. “Those who have been there before, if they set the right tone to start with, the rest of the team will follow suit.

“They’ll be the key to how we go,” he added. “If they hit, the whole team hits. If they don’t hit, the offense isn’t nearly as productive.”

Swain said, however, that freshman Jennifer White had been leading the team in hitting of late and that it would be her and other freshmen and sophomores who had to step up.

“I have a lot of confidence in our younger girls,” Swain said. “I think they can and will step up as we progress through the playoffs.”

The Warriors will find out how they will fare at least in the opening round at 4 p.m. today in Merry Hill.