Carrboro’s volleyball varsity may not be ready yet for the post-season, but the Jaguars are at least tournament tested as they prepare for a match Thursday at defending 4A state champion Cardinal Gibbons.
The Jaguars went 4-0 in last weekend’s Wildcat Invitational at East Chapel Hill. Carrboro, a 2A program, defeated their hosts from 4A East, as well as 3A Chapel Hill, 4A Northwest Guilford and 4A Wilmington Hoggard to win its bracket in the invitational.
Carrboro swept all their 4A opponents in straight sets, 3-0. Both Northwest and Hoggard had been in last year’s 4A playoffs, with Hoggard getting all the way to the state championship final before losing to Cardinal Gibbons.
Notably, Carrboro needed five sets to top Chapel Hill last weekend, 25-19, 22-25, 25-14, 16-25, 15-11, in what was the first match of the regular season for both teams.
Tuesday night at Chapel Hill High School’s Alumni Gym, that was a distant memory as Carrboro swept the Tigers in three sets: 25-11, 25-19, 25-18.
“Our first match with them, we did a good job of keeping them out of their system,” said first-year Chapel Hill head coach Ross Fields. “We were serving the ball to the spots we wanted. We were hitting to the places we wanted, and running the offense we wanted. This time, not so much.”
Carrboro head coach Steve Scanga agreed that Tuesday’s match reversed the teams’ roles.
“Last time we played, they were painting the lines with serves, hitting to just the right spots,” Scanga said. “This time, it was different. I’m glad we played so well.”
Down 0-1 in the match, Chapel Hill led the second set until Carrboro junior Sarah Montross served for four straight points and a 7-5 Jaguar lead. The Tigers never again pulled even.
Montross, with her former NBA player dad Eric Montross watching from the stands, also served for nine points in the first set, including the last eight straight as Carrboro won the game 25-11.
Three to watch
Destiny Cox, Carrboro: The junior outside hitter, who committed as a sophomore to North Carolina, was again deadly at the net, with 17 kills on 35 attempts.
Diana Alcox, Carrboro: a 5-10 middle blocker, the senior made a match-high 6 blocks. (She made 5 in last weekend’s win over Hoggard.)
Shea Golden, Chapel Hill: The Tigers’ academic all-American had 9 kills (matched by rising ninth-grader Kaya Merkler), 2 assists and a match-high 9 digs.
By the numbers
2: blocks each for Chapel Hill’s Baily Rose, Kara Crider and Kaya Merkler.
23: assists by senior Grace Maggiore, more than half of Carrboro’s 37 total.
19: serves by Carrboro junior Emma Fritsch, getting 5 aces (a 26.3 percentage).
36.4: kill percentage for Carrboro. Chapel Hill’s percentage was 31.6, not that far behind. The difference was that Carrboro got more chances at the net, attempting 110 kills to Chapel Hill’s 95.
Carrboro (5-0) plays at Cardinal Gibbons at 6 p.m. Thursday. Chapel Hill is at Durham Jordan at 5 p.m. Thursday.
They said it
“Cardinal Gibbons is really going to present a challenge. I always wanted to play them. ... I want to load up our schedule with the best teams I can. That way, when we get to the third, fourth round of the state tournament, we’ll be ready to play whoever we meet.” Carrboro coach Steve Scanga
Carrboro at Cardinal Gibbons
Carrboro (5-0) plays at Cardinal Gibbons at 6 p.m. Thursday. Before that, the Crusaders (1-0), the defending 4A state champions in volleyball, play Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. at Ravenscroft.