This week’s volleyball notebook:
The Spartans (11-8, 6-4 Cap-8 4A) avenged an earlier loss to North Raleigh rival Millbrook with a 3-2 victory Tuesday.
“The loss earlier in the season over at Millbrook really hurt us. We worked hard to focus on the moment coming into tonight’s match,” Sanderson coach Pam Tart said. “We knew that a potential playoff berth could be on the line tonight as we finish the season.”
The Wildcats (6-8, 5-5 Cap-8 4A) are still hoping to finish the year strong and earn one of the final spots in the 4A playoffs.
“We have young athletes on this team that need to learn how to win with the lead and seal the victory,” said Millbrook coach Julee Dickens. “Our team needs to learn how to win moments, win sets and win the match.”
With a 3-2 win over Leesville Road (13-3, 8-2 Cap-8 4A), the Wolverines (12-4, 8-2 Cap-8 4A) gave Broughton an assist. The Caps (14-1, 9-1 Cap-8 4A) now lead the conference and Wakefield and Leesville are tied for second.
The Catamounts (16-2, 11-1 Southwest Wake 4A) are a different team than they were in the first match with Green Hope, and it’s why they won 3-2 on Tuesday to force a tie atop the conference. Panther Creek setter Alani Alderman wasn’t shy about passing to middle blockers Kayla Spells and Daryn Armstrong for points.
“That was part of the plan, absolutely,” Panther Creek coach Karen Garman said. “Our middles have gotten stronger, gotten better offensively. And when they’re hitting well, and our momentum’s up with them, they also put up a great block, so it puts all the pieces together. And that is something we did not show them last time.”
Coach Karl Redelfs doesn’t think this was the best performance from his Falcons (16-1, 10-1 Southwest Wake 4A) on Tuesday. After the first set, the Falcons (16-1, 10-1) didn’t display the same precision in their passing.
But Redelfs thinks this could be a valuable lesson for his group. His 2011 team was 14-0 before suffering its first loss and ended 24-2 with an appearance in the East regional final.
“I think it’s good. I think every team needs a loss, I think that’s where you learn the most,” Redelfs said. “It’ll hurt a little bit, but we’ll move past it and get ready for the next one.”
The Hawks were a fourth-round playoff team last year with no seniors and seem to be peaking at the right time. Triton took over first in the Two Rivers 3A Conference by knocking off defending regular-season champ Corinth Holders 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-20) Tuesday.
The victory moved Triton (13-4, 6-1) a game ahead of Corinth (11-6, 5-2) and Cleveland (11-6, 5-2).
“Every day, at least an hour or more (we work on defense),” said Triton coach Wendy Gaines, whose squad completed a regular-season sweep of Corinth. “We know we aren’t very tall at the net, so we have to be able to dig up whatever they bring to us. It becomes habit-forming that they are going to go after that ball no matter what.”
The Trojans (10-8, 5-6 Greater Neuse 4A) are moving up the conference standings after sweeping Garner last week.
“We’ve improved so much, it’s amazing,” said junior Camryn Huber. “We’ve all gotten closer as friends and our skills have improved. We put so much work into practice to get better.”
Part of Central’s improvements is their passing. Hubert had 24 kills to beat Garner. Seniors who contributed mightily to their first sweep of Garner were Kayla East, 13 kills; Megan Parrish, 27 assists; and Searria Fisher with 35 digs.
Tom Shanahan, Mike Mangan and Eric Puskar contributed.