East Chapel Hill won its first conference volleyball championship in more than a decade when it defeated Jordan in four sets last week.
The Wildcats won the decisive match at Jordan by a 3-1 score, bringing them their first Piedmont Athletics Conference championship ever and their first in any league race since winning a Five-County 3A title in 2002.
“It’s been 12, long years since we won a conference championship,” said East Chapel Hill coach Michelle Wood. “We’ve finished second by one game several years and finished as far down as fourth or fifth a couple of times.
“We’re very excited to get back to the playoffs.”
Seeded No. 6 in the East for the NCHSAA 4A tournament, East Chapel Hill (15-8 overall, 9-1 PAC-6) was scheduled to host No. 27 Wake Forest (12-10, 5-9 Cap-8) in a first-round match Saturday. That was played too late for today’s Chapel Hill News; see newobserver.com/sports for results. The winner was to play either No. 11 Raleigh Wakefield or No. 22 South Central in Tuesday’s second round.
East Chapel Hill needed a win on the last day of the regular season to finish one full match of Durham Riverside (16-6, 8-2).
The Wildcats dropped the first set Monday at Jordan, 23-25, but then rallied to win the next three, 25-16, 25-21, 26-24.
Annie Carter (18 kills), Sarena Seelbach (16 kills, 4 blocks) and Grayson Walter (6 blocks) led East up front, while Mo Rooker provided 35 assists. Danielle Amer served up four aces in 21 serves, leading the ‘Cats to 11 points while serving. Lena Johnson made a team-high 27 digs on defense.
Carter finished the regular season as the PAC-6 leader in hits (389 kills) and win percentage (48.6), meaning she produced points almost half the the times she touched the ball. Walter, a sophomore hitter, was second in the conference in blocks (86), and Amer was second in aces (35).
Rooker, a 5-7 junior setter, has been important to East’s 5-1 set-up, Wood said. “She’s been doing great for us, blocking really well when she’s up front.
“Everyone on the team has been doing their job really well. The key is that everyone trusts each one of her teammates to be where they’re supposed to be. We’ve been playing well together as a team.”