Upsets of stellar 4A squads Clayton and West Johnston highlighted the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association state volleyball playoffs on Wednesday, while Princeton, Cleveland and Corinth Holders all won at home.
Middle Creek 3, Clayton 2: The Mustangs pulled the upset in a very tight, five-set match (2225, 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 15-13) on Wednesday night.
Clayton finishes the season with a 21-2 record after winning its first outright conference championship since 1986.
The Comets will lose 10 seniors to graduation from one of the winningiest volleyball squads in the school’s long history: Auburn Morgan, Cayli Sutton, Avery Moser, Michaela Alexyon, Brianna Davis, Caroline Durham, Bailey Perdue, Kayla Lewis, Ema Sheldon and Amelia Durham.
Harnett Central 3, West Johnston 1: The Trojans roared back to win three straight sets — the last one convincingly — to upset their Greater Neuse River 4A Conference rival, 19-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-9.
West finishes the season with an 18-4 record.
Tessa Starkweather had a team-high seven kills for the Wildcats in the loss. West will lose just three seniors to graduation: Kelsey Ellis, Abby Barbour and Makayla Hackney.
Cleveland 3, Hillsborough Orange 0: Junior Taylor Thomas notched a dozen kills to help lead the Rams into the second round of the 3A playoffs with a 25-12, 25-19, 25-17 victory. Cleveland (15-6) will meet Chapel Hill in the second round.
Sophomore Jenna Myer kept the Rams on the attack all night, finishing with 33 assists.
Corinth Holders 3, Asheboro 0: The Pirates earned trip to the second round of the 3A playoffs with a 25-14, 25-17, 25-15 decision over Asheboro. Corinth Holders carried a 14-7 record into its meeting with Hope Mills Gray’s Creek on Thursday.
South Lenoir 3, North Johnston 0: The Panthers got a tough opening draw in the 2A playoffs with traditional power South Lenoir and fell, 25-20, 25-20, 25-9.
North Johnston finishes the season with a 9-13 record.
Princeton 3, Mattamuskeet 0: Defending eastern regional 1A champion Princeton made short work of the Lakers to advance, 25-12, 25-14, 25-9. The Bulldogs carried a 15-6 record into their second round match up with Camden County.