CARY — A few minor changes are having a major impact for Green Hope's volleyball team.
Madison Brown, recently committed to play at N.C. State, is now the team's libero a position that was vacant until last week and it's a move that has its own ripple effect. A libero doesn't count against a team's allotted substitutions, so coach Karl Redelfs has been able to do that more freely.
Brown, like all liberos, can't block or take part in an attack, but her defensive presence has shored up the back line and given the opportunity for other hitters to step up at the net.
The Falcons have a new sense of confidence, and their 3-0 (29-27, 25-12, 25-13) sweep of Holly Springs will only give them more. The two teams, which entered the match with Holly Springs ranked 12th and Green Hope 13th in the News & Observer rankings, are now tied in the loss column for second place.
"The entire goal was to get (Brown) to that spot, said Green Hope coach Karl Redelfs. But I needed to work with outsides a little more, work with our setter, just to make things more consistent.
Green Hope (10-4, 8-2) sophomore Margot Ruffiex had a game-high 16 kills while teammate Jordan Feuerhelm, a junior, had 15 and senior Rayna Yvars added nine. Junior setter Caroline Neideffer had 43 assists.
Numbers dont lie, said Redelfs. They really stepped it up.
The first game was a wild back-and-forth, with Green Hope leading 20-12 before Holly Springs rallied to tie it at 24-all. Green Hope won the next point, and the two teams alternated until Feuerhelms kill made it 28-27 followed by a hit out of bounds by Holly Springs.
Feuerhelm had nine of her kills in the first game alone.
Madi is an awesome defender, so having her constantly on back row gives us that defensive power that gives our offense the ability to hit the ball, Feuerhelm said. I think its good that we spent the first part (of the Tri-9 season) trying to figure everything out. Now... we can into the second half strong.
Holly Springs (11-4, 9-2) wasnt as sharp in games two and three, while the Falcons kept rolling.
Somewhere along the line, we lost that drive. We did not play to our full capability, said Golden Hawks coach Jennifer Ivanoff. Our first set was pretty nice, but unfortunately we did not have everything go together the way we wanted to.
The Golden Hawks were led in kills by sophomore Jaclyn Brewington (nine), junior Kaelyn Dyson (eight kills, 10 blocks) and sophomore Mackenzie Reaves (eight kills).
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps