Midtown: Sports

Cary Christian volleyball hands St. David’s its first loss

St. David’s powerhouse girls’ volleyball came to town, and Cary Christian would have settled for any kind of win over the defending state champions after losing three tough matches to the Warriors a year ago.

But no one was thinking a sweep.

However, a surprising 3-0 sweep is what Cary Christian pulled off with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-20 victory over St. David’s Tuesday evening in the Knights’ gym.

“We’re always motivated against them because they’re great competition,” said Adria Johnson, Cary Christian’s 6-foot-2-inch sophomore. “We struggled against them a couple of times last year, so it felt good to put it down tonight. That was awesome to put it down in three.”

Johnson dominated all three games with 23 total kills, including two key kills from the back row. The first was in the second game for a 9-7 lead and the other in the third for a 13-8 lead.

“She works hard and wants to get a college scholarship,” said Cary Christian coach Lesley White. “She’s a year-round volleyball player at Triangle Volleyball Club.”

Cary Christian and St. David’s both entered the match unbeaten in Eastern Plains Independent Conference play, with the Warriors also unbeaten overall. The Knights improved to 10-2 and 5-0 in conference play, while St. David’s dropped to 8-1 and 3-1.

The first game went back and forth with neither club leading by more than two points before Cary Christian went up 14-11. But as was the case throughout the first game, St. David’s rallied with three straight points, including two aces by Caroline Talton.

The second game was also back and forth until Cary Christian tallied eight unanswered points for a 24-16 lead. After a kill by Johnson for a 17-16 lead, sophomore setter Isabelle Miller served the next seven points.

In the third game, Cary Christian started quickly with an 8-3 lead that it stretched to 22-13 before St. David’s rallied to cut the deficit to 23-20. But it’s tough to stop a team once it gets to 23 points, and the Knights quickly clinched the match.

Junior Julie Thompson, who is a still-emerging player in only her third year of volleyball, contributed two key blocks to keep the momentum alive for leads of 14-8 and 16-9.

“We have a great rivalry with them, and our girls really wanted to win,” White said. “This is the best I’ve seen our team play this year. We have a young team, and we’ve made some position changes that have made a difference.”