RALEIGH — Wakefield came out like a well-oiled machine as it defeated visiting Millbrook 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-21) Thursday night to advance to the fourth round of the NCHSAA 4A volleyball championship.
The team took control of the match early with all-around strong play.
“Phenomenal senior leadership today. Good chemistry all around today. Our hits were on, our setting was on, our passing was what kept us in this game,” Wakefield coach Cynthia Terrell said.
It was the third time Wakefield beat Millbrook in four matchups this season. The teams split the regular season schedule, and Wakefield bounced Millbrook from the Cap-8 tournament.
“We were all just in the zone,” senior captain Darian Mack said with a smile.
Mack helped lead the Wolverines (22-2) past Millbrook (18-8) with effective kill shots.
“I was just seeing the court better and watching where the block is,” Mack added. She finished with a team-high 18 kills.
The Wolverines looked like an altogether different team than the one Millbrook had seen before.
“They’ve improved on their passing since the times we’ve seen them,” Millbrook coach Julee Dickens said.
Senior Gabrielle Benda led the Wolverines with 40 assists.
“When you play this team in the state playoffs, you have to have the best game of your life. They’re so strong. They have so many weapons,” Dickens said.
The first game was a back-and-forth affair with the Wolverines keeping the scoring edge throughout. Wakefield did an effective job of denying Millbrook senior hitter Tara Dotzauer scoring lanes.
Wakefield held the scoring edge in the second game, jumping to an early 11-3 lead. Millbrook got within four points, trailing 18-14, but the Wolverines rattled off seven of the next eight points for the win.
In the third game, Millbrook switched its blocking and rotation around. The Wildcats jumped out to an 8-3 lead. Wakefield battled back to tie it 12-12. The Wolverines then crept ahead 14-13 and held the lead to the end.
“They gathered strength and started pounding again. There’s only so much battling you can do, but somebody has to come out the victor,” Dickens said.