Charles Riley was looking to get a strong challenge for his Corinth Holders volleyball team on Tuesday.
And he definitely got what he wanted.
The Pirates took on defending state 4A champion Greenville Rose and were very competitive at times, but finished on the short end of a 25-16, 25-10, 29-27, 25-10 decision.
It was the first loss of the season for Corinth Holders (2-1) after a pair of straight-set wins at Wilson Fike and Southern Nash.
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Rose (3-0), which has won three state titles since 2008 under coach Norman Cabacar, has won 18 straight matches and 29 of its last 30.
Cabacar played a second unit for the third set after sweeping the first two, and the Pirates responded with the close victory in the third before the Rampants closed it out.
“I think we learned about facing adversity when we’re down,” said Corinth Holders coach Riley, who has been at the helm since the school opened. “I’ve got a big thing about playing the next play. When we make a mistake we’ve got to forget about it and move on. We really played some good defense, but we had some service issues and could have played smarter at times.”
The teams will meet again on Tuesday in Greenville.
The Rampants scored the first eight points of the third set. Shelby Casey served for seven straight points including three aces in the span.
They said it
“I gave my second rotation a chance to get into the battle because we never know when we’ll need them in a more important situation,” Cabacar said. “Corinth Holders is pretty good. We just need to treat all our opponents like they’re the No. 1 team.”
Three who mattered
Maggie Hallow, Rose: The senior captain and outside hitter, who has committed to play at American University, had nine kills.
“It was good for us to make this trip and see a good team outside our conference,” said Hallow, who was MVP of the state title match. “Their middle (Katelynn Leach) is taller than most of the ones we play. And they’re really scrappy, so that was good for us to see.”
Shelby Casey, Rose: The senior hitter served seven aces.
Katelynn Leach, Corinth Holders: The senior middle hitter had three service aces.
By the numbers
3: The most consecutive points scored by Rose in the hard-fought first set. And the number of aces served by Leach.
4: Consecutive points served by the Pirates’ Jamie Turner in the third set, giving the hosts their biggest lead in a set at 22-18.
“We played them pretty well, but we have a lot of room for improvement,” Turner said. “I thought we played our best in the first set. But when things got tough in the second we got a little bit down on ourselves.”
6: Rose’s biggest lead in the third set, 8-2 on Liz Gay’s sixth straight service point.
7: Aces served by Casey.
9: Kills by Hallow.
10: Kills by Rose’s Caroline Kuhn.
12: Tie scores in the third set
The Pirates’ next seven matches are against non-conference teams before they visit Johnston County rival Smithfield-Selma on Sept. 15.
“Rose is good either way,” te Pirates’ senior outside hitter Haley Stancil said. “We came back and won that third set and that was important. We’re like a family and we have a great team attitude. I think that’s going to take us pretty far.”