The 2014 Chapel Hill High School volleyball season came to a close Tuesday evening at River Ridge High School. The Lady Knights dominated three straight games, from start to finish, eliminating the Lady Panthers from the 5A state playoffs.
Chapel Hill played well in the match, and came away with quite a few points, but never held a lead. They played better than their previous trip to the Sweet 16 round of the playoffs, and were able to hold their heads high after wrapping up a tremendous season that saw plenty of school records fall.
“[River Ridge] was so deep and did not have a single weak spot, so for us to compete with them like we did, even though the scores were a little lopsided, it shows how far we have come and the girls did a great job,” said CHHS coach Jeremy Anderson. “This was a real positive end for us. We were not even supposed to be in 5A. We were supposed to be 4A and we partitioned to be in this bigger area. We knew it would be tough to go far. We are super proud of the entire season and our record was the best it has ever been.”
River Ridge took the first game of the best-of-five match, 25-13. They won the next two games, 25-8 and 25-12.
The Lady Knights jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first game. After a point by the Lady Panthers, River Ridge scored six straight points for an 8-1 advantage. Olivia Stasevich dominated for most of the match. In the opening game, early run, she scored three points, all off spikes.
Chapel Hill managed to cut the deficit to 10-8 off a couple of bad hits by the Lady Knights and a well placed shot by Kamara Daughtry. Later, with the score at 14-9 River Ridge, the Lady Knights put the Lady Panthers away with four straight points as Sophie O’Hare and Brittany Castro got in on the scoring. River Ridge took a 10 point lead at 22-12 and O’Hare put the game away, with the Lady Knights up 24-13, with a cross court kill.
Chapel Hill managed to keep the second game close for a few points. Emily Austin, Kylah Maxwell-Brown and Christa Haynes all scored at the net. River Ridge began to pull away, up 7-4. The Lady Knights rolled off nine points in a row for a 16-4 advantage. River Ridge scored most of their points off Chapel Hill hits into the net or out of bounds. After going up, 24-8, the game ended when Haynes and Austin had a little miscommunication at the net, resulting in the ball being hit late, and into the net.
In the final game, River Ridge had runs of four and seven points to take a 19-7 lead. Molly Herring and Leonore Nickell scored most of the points for the Lady Knights. Chapel Hill continued to set up Maxwell-Brown throughout the third game, and she picked up many of the points for the Lady Panthers. With the score, 24-12, Herring hit a soft shot over the front line to end the match.
Despite the loss, Maxwell-Brown had a strong finish to the season.
“Kylah was by far the best player for us on the night with 10 kills. She tripled anyone else on the team,” Anderson said. “But you cannot leave out any of our setters. Daryl [Mitchell] had a great game tonight. She had to do a lot of running around tonight and for her to get set up for a lot of kills, it was really positive.”
The Lady Panthers will lose the majority of their team next year. This year’s squad consists of eight seniors; Shariya Curry, Micayla Davidson Kayleigh Reiner, Jasmine Mitchell, Daryl Mitchell, Daughtry, Maxwell-Brown, and Haynes,. The only three returners will be Jackie Williams, Alejandra Sosa and Austin.