CARY — Just as had happened in their regular-season battle, Millbrook and Green Hope’s volleyball teams went back and forth, trading one rally for another and answering one big point with another. And just like in the regular season, Green Hope got the closing points that matter the most, closing out Millbrook in a 3-0 win that was much closer than the term “sweep” suggests.
The Falcons (18-4) are through to the second round, where they’ll travel to Durham Jordan after a 25-23, 25-20, 25-21 win.
Green Hope has won its last 13 matches. Finding the crucial points, especially when trailing, is a big reason why.
At times this year, coach Karl Redelfs has urged his group to avoid the slow start. But his players are quick to learn from their mistakes.
“We’re totally a comeback team,” said Green Hope senior Rayna Yvars. “We use all our mistakes in the beginning and build (momentum) up.”
Green Hope trailed 21-17 in game one before taking eight of the final 10 points. The Falcons also took five of the final six points in game two and three of the final four points in game three to break open one- and two-point games.
Millbrook (15-12) concludes its third straight year in the postseason under coach Julee Dickens. It’s also the third straight year the Wildcats have met the Falcons in the playoffs, winning in 2010 and losing in 2011 and this season.
The Wildcats graduate just two seniors – Claudia McGowan and Jessica McAfee.
“It’s hard to not focus on the negative because you lost, but the positive part is we far exceeded our expectations for the youth on this team,” Dickens said.
The most impressive part to Dickens was how her team’s inexperienced players displayed a mental fortitude beyond its years.
“It gives you great hope for the future,” Dickens said. “I have three freshmen and a sophomore at the court at all times.”
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps