Broughton’s volleyball team is adjusting quite nicely to sitting atop the N&O rankings as the new No. 1-ranked team.
The Capitals traveled to Wakefield to open Cap-8 Conference play and brought home a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-20, 25-23) Thursday evening on the Wolverines’ court.
Broughton improved to 6-0 overall with its second three-game sweep of the week since climbing to No. 1.
“We play well together as a team,” said Broughton outside hitter Kalee Vanderhorst. “We’ve only been playing together a month, but we’ve clicked well. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We work off each other.”
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Vanderhorst, a 5-foot-11 senior committed to East Tennessee State, leads a veteran roster that advanced to last year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A East regional semifinals before losing to eventual state-champion Cardinal Gibbons.
The Caps’ go-to player finished with 19 kills and junior Claire Sawyer contributed 32 assists.
But Broughton’s experience has been bolstered by a precocious talent, 6-foot-2 freshman Jade Demps. The 13-year-old prodigy carries bonafide all-around athlete credentials as a USA Junior Track and Field All-American in the pentathlon.
The five pentathlon events are the 100-meter hurdles, shot put, high jump, long jump and 800 meters. On July 10, Demps won the USATF Region 3 Junior Olympics title; she placed fourth July 31 in the USATF National Junior Olympics. Demps also was an All-American individually in the high jump with a fourth-place finish at 5-5.
Wakefield coach Cynthia Terrell and Duke-bound junior Ade Owokoniran remain encouraged the Wolverines (3-3, 0-1) possess a promising club despite the sweep.
“We felt we could stay with them,” Terrell said. “We played with energy and the crowd was into it. We have some issues to clean up, but overall we played well. We’re still finding our chemistry. I’m excited for our season.”
Owokoniran, a 6-2 middle and outside hitter, led the Wolverines with 12 kills. Seniors Gabbi Ingram, Allie Dodge and Gentry Benda provide experience.
Game 1: Broughton jumped out early and finished off a 25-13 victory.
Game 2: Wakefield played hard to take a 10-9 lead, but Broughton scored too many crucial points to allow the Wolverines to maintain momentum.
Game 3: The Caps led 10-9 before Vanderhorst recorded six of her seven kills in the game the rest of the way. Wakefield rallied when senior Jehlina Rosa’s kill led to a brief 23-22 lead. Vanderhorst responded with her 19th kill and Demps followed with two service aces to close out the match.
THEY SAID IT
“Jade is a beast,” Vanderhorst said. “She’s explosive and knows how to put the ball down. Jade is amazing. She plays everywhere.” – Vanderhorst on Demps.