This week’s volleyball notebook:
Carrboro (15-0, 5-0 Mid-State 2A) is still riding high having already defeated 4A state champion Cardinal Gibbons, defending 2A state champion South Granville and reigning Big 8 3A Conference Champion Cedar Ridge.
Conference play – with 39 straight league wins at this point – should be an easy path to another conference title. But coach Steve Scanga will use it to develop his depth.
“It’s difficult to be at the level we are, but I get to play some of the players who don’t get to play as much,” Scanga said. “We do some different things. We find other things to work on to get things done.”
The Golden Hawks (9-7, 4-5 Southwest Wake 4A) are starting to get healthy for the first time in weeks.
Shaelyn Squeri is one of three Hawks to return to action recently, as the senior missed nearly three weeks because of a concussion. Senior Asia Greenhill was out 10 days with an illness, and junior Grace Fields played her first match of the season on Tuesday after an ankle injury.
Holly Springs looks forward to the second run through the conference, hoping to climb over the .500 mark in the SWAC. It starts Thursday with Fuquay-Varina.
“This is a big week for us,” coach Emily Rice said. “We’re excited for that second run of ‘revenge’ matches, if you will.”
The Pirates (10-5, 4-1) tied Cleveland atop the Two Rivers 3A with a 3-1 win on Tuesday thanks to an adjustment made on the fly.
“They made a big adjustment in game three and they started tipping to score,” said coach Charles Riley. “So we went single block and everybody else play coverage so we had more coverage on defense. Once we got comfortable with that, we tried to switch it up there at the end to go double blocks with our back row getting more comfortable reading the tips and they did a good job at getting the ball from defense to our setters and made some things happen on offense.”
Jamie Turner led the Pirates with 13 kills on the night.
EAST WAKE ACADEMY
East Wake Academy (8-7, 7-5 North Central Athletic 1A) has been getting a lift from senior McKenzie Alford, who had 14 kills in last Thursday’s 3-1 win against Raleigh Charter.
“Big Mac is our dynamite,” coach Kenly Simmons said. “She has been our fire in the middle for my three years (as head coach). When it is a big moment, we know who to get the ball to. And another big thing is that (Alford) has now really developed into a good back-row player.”
Raleigh Charter (7-5, 7-5 North Central Athletic 1A) has been one of the top 1A programs in the state in the last decade but is fighting through youthful mistakes this year.
“It’s a mental game,” first-year Raleigh Charter coach Andrea Mewhinney said. “The No. 1 thing I try to tell the players about volleyball is that it is as much mental as it is physical. The fans seemed to get in our heads, and the other team seemed to get in our heads. But we never gave up and fought for every point. We have a lot of good teams in this conference, but I want to see us make the playoffs, and I believe we can.”
A small tweak to the lineup had Capitals (12-1, 7-1 Cap-8 4A) firing on all cylinders in Tuesday’s win against Wakefield.
“The focus for us is to play better every time out,” coach Jim Freeman said. “We changed up the lineup a little and this game was as good as we’ll play. Wakefield is a good team, with good players, and we looked better. Everything flowed much better.”
The red-hot Wolverines (10-4, 6-2 Cap-8 4A) were hoping to move into first place in the conference but now sit in third after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Broughton.
“Obviously things had been coming along pretty well since we were tied for first coming in,” Wakefield coach Cynthia Terrell said. “But our passing was not good tonight and we made some decisions that are just not typical Wakefield. We hung in there at times but gave up too many runs and missed services that we just shouldn’t miss. We made mistakes and the team that didn’t make the mistakes won tonight.”
The Rams (10-7, 5-4) are in good position to make the playoffs for the first time in school history thanks to players like Carson Evans and Ashley and Hannah Stroot, who came up big in a 3-0 win against Knightdale on Tuesday.
“We got out of our system a little bit in our other matches, playing good teams like we were that is difficult,” Rolesville coach Brian Harris said of the three-game losing streak, which came against upper-echelon GNRC teams Clayton, West Johnston and Garner. “I felt like today we did a good job of defense and moving the ball. Knightdale had some very nice cut shots, so we had to adjust to that, but overall I thought we did a really good job.”
The Cougars (10-4, 8-2 Southwest Wake 4A) have been through some “growing pains,” according to first-year coach Michael Webster, as the senior-laden team adjusted to its new coach. That transition is nearing completion as Apex has won four in a row.
“We had to go through a lot of new processes, and we figured everything out,” Cougars junior Alyssa Hansen said. “Today was the first day where we really brought it together. We had the best energy, and it worked out really well for us.”
David Justice, Jeff Hamlin, Lee Montgomery, Michael Held and Geoff Neville contributed.