Voyager volleyball coach Mariah Jackson has stood tall during the Vikings’ nine-match winning streak.
After Voyager began the season 2-3, including back-to-back losses to Franklin Academy and Chapel Hill, Jackson began standing during the matches – rallying her team like a cheerleader without the pompoms.
Whether you’re the superstitious type or not, the Vikings (10-2) haven’t lost since.
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“I just decided that I wouldn’t sit down during the game, and I haven’t for the last eight games,” said Jackson who looks the same age as her students. “I’m talking to them, letting them know that I support them, and that I’m working hard on the sideline, too.”
Voyager recorded its sixth straight shutout with a 3-0 win Thursday night over Kestrel Heights.
The Hawks (0-10) are like most of the sports programs at Kestrel, trying to build a team with limited resources and inexperienced, but enthusiastic, players.
“They have to understand that it’s a mental game as much as physical,” coach Joseph Daye said. “They have to learn not to play afraid. But they are a young team, and they’ll learn.”
Voyager trailed briefly in the first set 3-0 before scoring 11 straight points off senior setter Ruthie Roberts’ serve. The Vikings kept an eight-point margin throughout the set until scoring the final four points – again on Roberts’ watch.
The second set was all Voyager whose power hitting overpowered the Hawks. Leading 15-5, the Vikings pounded out the final 10 points on senior outside hitter Megan Harris’ serve.
“They are getting used to playing together and having confidence in themselves,” Jackson said. “I told them to run with it and believe it.”
But Kestrel didn’t fold in the tent. The Hawks jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the third set and battled Voyager point for point as the lead seesawed until the Vikings took the lead for good at 12-11. Voyager completed the sweep 25-15.
Despite the winless record, Daye said he’s not discouraged.
“This is a building year for us, and we will work with what we have,” he said. “They showed a fight till the end, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Voyager made it seven straight shutouts with a victory over River Mill Academy Friday night (25-13, 25-13, 25-10). The Vikings have lost just two sets during the nine-match streak.
Cresset Christian Academy volleyball team is also raising eyebrows.
The Eagles (13-5) have won five straight matches and are undefeated (4-0) in the NCISAA Carolina Christian Conference. Cresset leads Neuse Christian Academy and Cape Fear Christian Academy by a game.
Senior outside/middle hitter Maredith Devlin leads the conference in hitting (.394), kills (312) and aces (76). Teammate Stephanie Hardy is tops in assists (423).
Cresset hosts Lee Christian School Friday at 6 p.m.