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Undefeated Leesville Rd. falls to Ardrey Kell in 4-A Volleyball Final

November 5, 2012
Rocky Mount High School

By Kent Wheeless, iHigh.com Correspondent

RALEIGH - The North Carolina High School Association Volleyball State Championships were held Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum on the N.C. State campus. 

In the 4A title match, the Leesville Road Pride (27-1) of Raleigh took on the Ardrey Kell Knights (31-1) of Charlotte. The Pride came into the match undefeated and ranked the No. 16 high school volleyball team in the nation by MaxPreps.  Included in their resume’ is a 3-0 victory over 3A powerhouse Cardinal Gibbons earlier in the year. The Knights returned to the finals after a 2009 loss to Greenville Rose and are coached by Zoe Bell that previous led Charlotte Providence to several state championships.

The first set was a hard fought battle that shifted back and forth before being decided with extra points. The Knights jumped out quick with a 9-3 lead with kills by four different players. The Pride fought back behind three kills by Julianna Rube and three by Sasha Karelov to close the gap to one point at 13-12 before making three consecutive errors to push the Kell lead up to 17-13. Three more kills by Rube and another by Karelov tied the game at 19-all.

From there it was tie or lead the Pride until at 23-all the Knights were at set point at 24-23. But a net violation retied the set and after another two ties the Pride broke through to lead 27-26 with the serve. A kill by match MVP Rachel Eppley again tied the game and Lily Duggan then served two aces to capture that set 29-27 for the Knights.

Set two was close at times but the Knights never trailed. They pushed out to a 7-2 lead and although the Pride made runs they were never able to get closer than two points from the Knights as the set finished 25-22. Madison Wauchope, Marshae Bradbury, Serana Jackson, and Eppley all contributed kills for the Knights while Samatha Brown recorded three kills to lead the Pride at the net.

The third set was the most one sided of the match with the Knights jumping to a 9-3 lead before the Pride responded and closed the margin to one point at 15-14. The Knights would have none of it and opened up the lead to 20-15 before closing out the set 25-17 and claiming their first NCHSAA Volleyball Championship. 

The Knights launched a very even attack for the night with Eppley getting nine kills, Jackson getting six, Caitlin Watkins getting seven, and Bradbury getting five. Eppley is a N.C. State signee for 2013.atch and expressed “pride” in their accomplishments over the season, and with 12 returning underclassmen they may be able to rekindle the championship fire next year.

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