WENDELL — Hillsborough Cedar Ridge earned a grudge match with Carolina 12 Conference rival South Granville in the 2A eastern regional volleyball semifinals Thursday, downing upstart Corinth Holders in straight sets 25-14, 25-16, 25-19.
South Granville (21-5) will host Cedar Ridge (24-8) on Saturday with a spot in the state semifinals on the line. The two teams split their regular-season meetings.
To get there, the Red Wolves used a varied but consistent attack to end the longest team sports season in the short history of Corinth Holders High School. The Pirates, who finished the season 20-7 and won the Northern Carolina Conference title, won their first volleyball playoff match just last Saturday.
Cedar Ridge pulled away in the first set, breaking a 7-all tie on solid service runs from Jordyn Rivenbark and Alexis Barnes, helping to turn the tie into an 18-10 advantage. Bailey Freeman later helped close out the set with a kill and a well-timed tip over a Corinth Holders double block attempt at set point.
The Red Wolves limited the offense of the Pirates throughout the match, keeping the third-year program off balance.
“They’re faster than any team we’ve seen so far this season,” Corinth Holders coach Charles Riley said of the Red Wolves. “They can come at you from pin-to-pin. You have to cover all 30 feet of the net every time. It’s tough to get there and get in front of them.”
Cedar Ridge coach Charlie Oakley was impressed by his team’s ability to adjust on the road.
“We try to run a very quick attack and are used to teams that come at us the same way,” Oakley said. “We had to adjust the way we reacted to their blocks and slow our tempo down. Every team you see this late in the playoffs is good. You just have to adjust to different styles.
“Corinth Holders played a great game. They don’t give you anything. They get to a whole lot of balls.”
Alexis Barnes, a senior setter, carried the Red Wolves’ offense, totaling 38 assists on the night. Fellow seniors Callie Thomas and Rivenbark picked up nine kills each. Thomas added 11 digs.
Corinth Holders trailed just 12-9 in the second set, but Rivenbark and Alexis Barnes put together two more productive service runs to push the lead to 20-11. Asha Barnes had three kills late in the second set, while Bailey Freeman and Libby Florence added single kills.
“They hit a variety of shots,” Riley said of Cedar Ridge. “We started to get used to it in the third game, but we haven’t seen anything like that all year. They bring a lot of offense, a lot of offense.”