RALEIGH—A group of Raleigh Charter volleyball student and parents stood in a narrow corridor of Reynolds Coliseum awaiting the conclusion of Saturday’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A volleyball state final post-match press conference.
The group would not leave for lunch without Phoenix coach Tania Stafford and players Joanna Powers and Clara Leonard.
Never mind that Raleigh Charter (21-4) sustained a setback – this time to Starmount (Boonville), 25-10, 25-14, 25-15 – on the season’s last day for the second consecutive year.
“They worked really hard together. Even when times were tough, they were there for each other,” Stafford said. “I think we had a lot of things to be proud about this season.”
Saturday, though, the Phoenix committed just too many unforced errors versus the Rams – who included five players 5-foot-10 or taller – and never were threatened in the sweep. Starmount (27-6) did not drop a set in six state playoff matches.
The usually prolific-scoring Powers was limited to 10 kills.
“We’re used to when we get a really good hit, it’s down,” Powers said. “They were just getting everything up. You really had to get a good hit in a good place.”
Rams setter Erin Barr did just that all match, setting up her teammates with 17 assists en route to a unanimous selection as MVP – and Raleigh Charter’s admiration.
“We have not seen that great of a setter the entire season,” Powers said. “She was hard to read. Her tips were very discreet. She is just an all-around, really good player.”
Leonard, who moved from outside hitter to middle blocker this season, tallied eight digs, as did Powers.
The Phoenix fell in the 2012 title tilt to Hendersonville, this year’s 2A state champion.