CARRBORO Carrboro hosted a sorority meeting last week disguised as a high school volleyball match.
Most people thought they only saw Carrboro High defeat Chapel Hill 3-1 in a match that lasted nearly two hours, but it really was another chapter meeting of the Sisterhood of the Volleyball Travel Clubs.
“I coached several of these girls in club ball,” Carrboro head coach Steve Scanga said after the Jaguars’ 25-17, 25-10, 19-25, 25-17, non-conference victory. “ We want to win, of course, but I’m excited when I see them all play well.”
Scanga’s Carrboro team is replete with players he coached on a Chapel Hill Area Volleyball Club 14-and-under team or on his beach volleyball team. Chapel Hill High had five alums of his 14s team on the roster last Wednesday night: sophomores Marin Wolf, Tia Wade and Kyra Crider, and juniors Gabi Brenman and Shea Golden.
When I started here, I had one club player on my team. The next year it was two,” Scanga said. “We’re getting more and more in our system now.”
Carrboro (5-1) and Chapel Hill (2-3) have something else in common besides club players; both teams are young. Each team has just two seniors. Carrboro has just four juniors on an 18-player roster, with the rest being ninth-graders or sophomores; Chapel Hill has five juniors.
“Tonight was a good match, but we’re just too young,” Chapel Hill coach Jody Brown said.
Brown, in his first season of coaching a high school varsity after 30 years at the collegiate and international level , said he knew Chapel Hill had graduated a lot of players off last season’s 22-9 club when he took the job last spring.
“They’re still learning me and I’m still learning them,” he said. “And I’m still learning the high school game.”
Youthful mistakes were common Wednesday. Both teams gave up several points on unforced errors. But there were some high points, too.
“Kyra did an outstanding job on the outside,” Brown said. “Whenever she’s on the outside, we get significant heat on the ball.
“Our setting is getting better and better, and our passing was very good tonight. But once Shea went down (with a twisted ankle), that put a cog in it. She’s our top outside hitter.”
Likewise, Carrboro seems to be on an upward trend. In their first five games this season, the 2A Jaguars beat 4A East Chapel Hill, 3A Cedar Ridge and 3A Chapel Hill (twice), marking the second straight year they’ve beaten the three local rivals.
“In the past we haven’t always been a strong team,” said Carrboro’s 6-1 outside hitter Destiny Cox. “This season we seem to be heading in the right direction.”
Scanga saw the Jaguars’ youth as their strongest point.
“Six freshmen came into this program this year who are making a big difference,” Scanga said. “All of them will get significant touches in varsity games this year.”
The six – Cox, Sarah Montross, Emma Fritsch, Katie Carpenter, Millie McGuire and Penny Newell – will play in at least some varsity games in 2014. Two more ninth-graders, Katie Link and Dorie Rathmell, are on the JV squad but on the cusp of moving up.
“The strength of this team comes from the freshmen and sophomores,” Scanga said. “We’re going to grow with them.”