Panther Creek’s volleyball team looks and feels comfortable atop of the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference standings with their unbeaten league record.
The No. 6-ranked Catamounts took a stronger hold on first place with a 3-0 sweep of No. 12 Fuquay-Varina at PC’s gym Tuesday night. The Catamounts won 25-21, 25-13 and 25-11.
Panther Creek (10-2, 7-0 SWAC) opened a two-game lead on second-place Fuquay (9-2, 5-2 SWAC). The Catamounts also own wins over Green Hope and Apex – the two traditional names atop the conference standings that also have two league losses – with only Cary left to face in the first round of league play.
“It was our goal to beat both Green Hope and Apex,” said junior setter Emily Maggio, a third-year varsity player who contributed seven kills and 18 digs. “This is the first time we’ve been on top of the conference. We want to stay up there, make it to the playoffs and see what we can make out of the program.”
The first game was back and forth and portended a five-game match. Neither team led by more than two points until Panther Creek rallied from 19-18 deficit to take a 24-21 advantage and then closed out the game.
Panther Creek jumped to a 10-4 lead in the second game. The Catamounts only led 13-10 in the third before scoring 12 of the next 13 points.
They said it
“We have a lot of big hitters that can hit on both sides and the middle.They take care of business. We work on defense in practice and the girls have worked hard. I’m excited to see this.” – second-year Panther Creek coach Holly Fong.
“We’ve got to get over the hump. We’ve got to learn to fight back in the second and third games.” – Fuquay-Varina coach Jeff Pagel, who was disappointed his team faded after losing a tough first game.
Three who made a difference
▪ Panther Creek’s Caitlyn Della: The 6-foot-1 senior outside hitter finished with 17 kills, including seven in the third game. Della worked on her back-row defense because she doesn’t want to leave the court this year. She says she likes the back-row kill opportunities.
▪ Panther Creek’s Alayna Beltran: The scrappy libero finished with 20 digs. With Beltran and Maggio, the Catamounts have the court covered to feed the big girls in the front row.
▪ Fuquay-Varina’s Nora Smith: The Bengals’ game broke down midway through the second game, but the team’s steadiest player remained consistent throughout the match.