HILLSBOROUGH Carrboro could see its volleyball loss Tuesday night at Cedar Ridge as one that got away. Cedar Ridge might see it as the start of something good.
“I told our girls that if we want to have a great season and win a state championship this year, then we need to be able to beat a great team like Carrboro,” Cedar Ridge head coach Charlie Oakley said. “They have taken that to heart, and they pulled out a great one tonight.”
Carrboro (5-2) clearly has progressed since its 3-1 loss to Carrboro on Aug. 22. That was the Red Wolves’ fourth match of the year, coming in the consolation finals of the Wildcat Invitational Tournament at East Chapel Hill. Cedar Ridge, which fell to eventual WIT champion Socastee (S.C.) in the opening match, finished 2-2 in the invitational.
Despite the 3-1 margin in games at the WIT, each one was tight, Oakley noted, with Carrboro prevailing 25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 25-16. The Red Wolves bounced back after that by shutting out Bartlett Yancey 3-0 and upending 4A Person 3-1.
Carrboro (5-2) picked up Tuesday where it left off in the WIT. The Jaguars fed on Cedar Ridge errors and led 25-14, 25-15 after two games, and they were up 3-0 in the third before Cedar Ridge got into gear.
“I probably said a few things that can't be repeated in public,” Oakley said. “Our goal is to get a little bit better in each game, and I didn’t feel we were getting on board with that until the third or fourth game.”
Carrboro was still up by three points, at 8-5, after a kill by the Jaguars’ 6-2 Destiny Cox, but Cedar Ridge whittled away at the lead until it tied the score at 10-10. Cedar Ridge fought off a match point at 25-24 with a kill by Meg Anderson that made the score 25-25. Carrboro eventually did it self in with two hitting errors. and Cedar Ridge pulled out a 27-25 win in game three.
Carrboro again led early in game four before Asha Barnes gave Cedar Ridge the lead for good at 12-11, and the Red Wolves took the set 25-20.
The Jaguars stayed close throughout the decisive fifth game but committed errors on the game’s final two points and saw Cedar Ridge win it 15-12.
Barnes led the scoring with 17 kills, but defense was perhaps even a bigger factor for Cedar Ridge; Lily Henry, Lindsay Thompson, Meg Anderson, Karsen Lee and Alexis Dumain each had at least 10 digs.
“The first two games we came out and played worse than I've seen us play all year,” Oakley said. “The third game I thought we were lucky to win. And then we just built on that momentum in four and five.”
Next up: Carrboro hosts 4A Durham Jordan at 6 p.m. Wednesday; Cedar Ridge plays 6 p.m. Thursday at Orange in the first Big 8 Conference match of the year for both of the cross-town rivals.