RALEIGH — Broughton, the Cap Eight Conference regular season volleyball champ, had to fight for a 3-1 win in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs Saturday against wild-card South Central High School out of Winterville.
South Central took a 19-9 lead in the fourth set, but Broughton rallied to win 25-22 and avoid the fifth set.
"You don't know what to expect out of a wild-card team," caoch Traci Smith said. "I think the biggest challenge is to stay whole, to stay together as a unit when you're playing a team that scrappy and the ball continues to come back."
Sophomore Kati Smith led the Caps with 19 assists, four aces and 18 kills. Ryan Haar added five aces and 10 assists. Genna Simpkins contributed 16 digs, while Katja Ehlers added 11 digs and 16 kills.
The win advances the Caps (20-3-1) to host Holly Springs in Tuesday’s second round.
Holly Springs (14-5) had no trouble with Southeast Raleigh (10-11), winning 25-10, 25-12, 25-12.
Makayla Cox and Abby Redus each had five kills for the Golden Hawks, who have won nine straight. The last three have come even as three-year starter Jaclyn Brewington went down with a torn knee.
“We’re still the same team, we just have more responsibilities,” said junior Mackenzie Reaves.
Apex 3, Knightdale 0: Apex (17-3) didn’t have to sweat in a 25-7, 25-7, 25-15 sweep of Knightdale in the first round of the 4A NCHSAA playoffs.
Senior Bri Belicic had six kills and an ace, while junior Ally Beckman had four kills, two aces and seven assists as the Cougars took control.
The Knights (8-11) made the playoffs as a wild-card.
"We were just glad to be here, definitely," first-year coach Anna Gay said. "First appearance in a while. We've come a long way. They did not have any wins last year, so to come and even make it here was a great experience for us."
Next up for Apex is powerful Wakefield (20-2), coming off a win against Person (16-7).
"It's going to be hard," Beckman said. "We've seen them before, and a lot of their players play at my club. We know what to expect, and it's going to be a very good match. It's going to go point for point, but we're going to have a good practice on Monday and come out really strong."
Garner 3, Athens Drive 0: The week of revenge has been sweet to Garner volleyball. The Trojans’ 25-23, 25-13, 25-22 sweep of Athens Drive (12-10) means Garner has back-to-back wins to the only teams it has lost to in a 23-2 season.
“I think it shows what team we’ve become and how we work together,” said senior setter Courtney Weathersbee.
The next goal is for Garner to move past the second round of the playoffs for the first time eer. Garner will host Millbrook (17-8), a winner against East Chapel Hill (13-10).
Garner’s Ka’asha Jeffries (eight kills) and Brooke Kamphuis (11 kills) led the way in Garner’s attack, while Weathersbee had 31 assists.
Athens Drive’s Rachel Kinsey had 10 kills.
Fuquay-Varina 3, Clayton 0: Fuquay-Varina (15-5) ended the first 20-win season in Clayton (21-4) school history with a 25-10, 25-9, 25-22 sweep.
“They didn’t put up much of a block so I tried to switch up my shots,” said Madie Sonnendecker, who had seven kills along with Saraya Klink. “
Fuquay will travel to Riverside (23-1) in a rematch of last year’s first round of the playoffs. Riverside dispatched defending 4A East champ Leesville Road.
Moving on: Corinth Holders moved past Orange 3-1 in the 3A playoffs and will travel to Mayodan McMichael in the next round. Also in the 3A playoffs, Triton (24-4) knocked out Southern Lee (9-7) by a 3-1 score and will host Central Davidson next. Chapel Hill (19-8) beat Wilson Hunt 3-0 and will travel to Swansboro in the next round.
Cedar Ridge (21-7) will host Thomasville Ledford in the second round after a 3-0 win against Burlington Williams.
Cardinal Gibbons (23-0) stayed perfect and on its goal of a ffith straight state title with a 3-0 win against Eden Morehea.
Carrboro swept Eastern Randolph in the 2A playoffs and Princeton did the same to Manteo in the 1A playoffs. Raleigh Charter swept Southeast Halifax and Roxboro Comunity swept Granville Central, also in the 1A playoffs.
Eliminated: Cleveland (9-11) lost 3-2 at Eastern Wayne in the 3A playoffs and wild-card North Johnston (8-13) is out of the 2A playoffs after a 3-0 loss to North Lenoir.
In the 4A playoffs, Scotland County ended East Wake’s (9-11) year with a 3-0 sweep, while wild-card Enloe (8-13) fell 3-0 at Fayetteville Pine Forest.
In 3A, Cape Fear Valley Conference champ Lee County (17-5) fell to Ledford 3-1. Pender County swept Franklin Academy 3-2 in the 1A playoffs.
Staff writers D. Clay Best and Caryn Grant, as well as correspondents Michael Held and Jay Mumford, contributed to this report.