Cape Fear Christian Academy’s varsity volleyball team had another strong performance in the second round of the NCISAA 1-A playoffs on Friday, taking a straight sets win over visiting North Hills Christian School of Salisbury by scores of 25-15, 25-23 and 25-14.
“I’m just going to keep harping on it: We’re having fun now,” said Cape Fear Christian coach Brittany Ter Meer. “We’re just having fun. It’s, ‘Well this is where we’re at now. Let’s see where we can go next game and see what we can do.’
“It’s kind of awesome to watch their mentality change, as well, because it was taken away from them (when play was suspended because of a student testing positive for COVID-19) and they all thought this thing was over and they’ve been gifted with the opportunity to keep playing. So, at this point it’s playing for fun, because you’re back in the game when you thought the season was over and done.”
Junior Leah Brannon was a key all-around performer for the homestanding Eagles (6-5), recording a double-double, with a match-high 15 kills, one assist, one block, 12 digs and a match-high three aces on 14 service points.
“It definitely helps when you have someone that can understand the concept of the court and can take care of the ball,” Ter Meer said. “What’s really nice is her ball control abilities. When she’s on our front row, she helps us out a lot, especially in that pin hitter position. She’s definitely helping the team out throughout all this.”
Ter Meer was pleased with the performance of both of her setters. Sophomore Rhyleigh Horne had a match-high 18 assists, two digs and one ace on five service points. Senior Natalia Brocious had two kills, seven assists and one dig and held serve for four points.
“They’re definitely coming together,” Ter Meer said. “It’s nice having a senior setter and a sophomore setter. The sophomore can learn from the senior and the senior can kind of give off some energy and even learn then from the sophomore. There’s definitely a nice balance between the two setting styles, as well.”
Gracie Byrd had five kills, five digs and one ace on eight service points. Meredith Taylor had four kills. Claire Parker had two kills and five digs and held serve for four points. Laney Avery had one kill and one dig. Mariah Bell had one assist and six digs.
Senior Elisabeth Houghton had 11 kills and one block to lead the visiting Eagles (9-2).
With North Hills Christian leading 2-1 early in the first set, a kill from Brannon, assisted by Brocious, started Cape Fear Christian on a 10-0 run. CFCA remained in control of the set from there, with the lead never dipping below eight.
The second set was closely contested throughout, with neither team holding a lead of more than three. With the score tied 23-23, a pair of kills from Brannon, one assisted by Horne and the second assisted by Brocious, ended the set.
The third set resembled the first, with Cape Fear Christian using a big run to take control. Holding a 5-4 lead, CFCA went on a 15-4 run and held on to the lead the rest of the way.
The win advances Cape Fear Christian to the semifinals of the state playoffs. CFCA will travel to play Kerr-Vance on Tuesday.