Coastal 3A News
Conley Defeats Rival Rose
September 25, 2013D H Conley High School
Coach Jennifer Gillikin doesn’t like talking about her volleyball team’s record, so it’s a good thing that it mostly speaks for itself.
Gillikin’s D.H. Conley Vikings remained unbeaten this season after sweeping arch-rival J.H. Rose 25-23, 26-24, 25-23 in a match that, despite lasting only three games, lived up to the hype that usually comes with any contest between these successful programs.
“These players have played in a lot of big matches,” Gillikin said of her squad, which moved to 16-0 overall and 7-0 in 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference play with the home victory. “A lot of our girls are seniors and I just think experience in the this type of setting has helped and it helped (tonight). I was proud of my team, how we stayed calm and composed. We didn’t get out of sorts.”
The Vikings could have folded under Rose’s pressure at times in all three games, but Conley came from behind in the latter stages of each set.
The Rampants (11-2, 5-2 ECC), who played without several injured starters including Maggie Hallow and Kendall Douglas, led 23-22 in Game 1 before a pair of Kori Adams kills sandwiched around a Mary Catherine Spain ace gave the hosts a 25-23 win.
Game 2 featured eight ties and three lead changes, but Rose grabbed a 23-18 lead on Caroline Kuhn’s ace. The Vikings proceeded to reel off an 8-1 run to close the set though and notched a 26-24 victory when the Rampants — whose only two losses this season have come against the Vikes — were called for a net violation on game point.
The lead changed hands five times in the third game and, after Conley took an early 9-5 lead, Rose went on a 7-1 run to grab a 12-10 edge. Neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way and a Rachel Wilson kill put the Rampants ahead 22-20.
Once again however, the Vikings responded when it mattered most. Consecutive aces from jump-serving Tori Morgan put Conley up 23-22 and Adams’ kill off a Rose block attempt ended the game and match 25-23.
“Our purpose was to come in here tonight, with the injuries that we have, with our team being as young as they are, and believe in one another and battle,” Rampants coach Norm Cabacar said. “I am extremely proud of the way we played tonight. We were in every game. We had opportunities to maybe pull out that first set, definitely the second set, but they never gave up. ... Once we get everybody back healthy, this should make us even stronger.”
Kalee Vanderhorst led all players with 13 kills and Spain added eight for the Vikes. Adams dished out a match-high 24 assists and Morgan recorded 20 digs, also a match high.
Rose’s Shelby Casey led her team with 10 kills, Merritt Anderson had 12 assists and Maggie Reese finished with 10 digs.
— Tony Castleberry