Orange Volleyball Earns 3A State Playoff Birth, Prepares for Chapel Hill

Updated: October 20, 2017

Photo by Dave Lindaman

The new system where MaxPreps decides the bracketing for the state playoffs didn’t do the Orange volleyball team any favors.

The same can be said of many other Big 8 teams.

The good news for Orange is the Panthers made the 3A state playoffs for the 3rd straight year under head coach Christina Carinci. The bad news is they’ll have to face the defending Eastern Regional Champions in the first round…and a cross-county rival.

The Panthers travel to Chapel Hill on Saturday afternoon at 1PM. The Tigers romped through the Big 8 this season, finishing a flawless 14-0 to take the regular season championship. The Tigers added to its trophy case on Wednesday when they won the Big 8 Tournament Championship  by defeating Northwood 3-1.

Chapel Hill is 20-6 overall and claimed the 5th seed in the 3A East Region. The winner of Orange-Chapel Hill faces the winner of #21 Northern Guilford vs. #12 Clayton next week.

After falling in the first round of the Big 8 Tournament to Northern Durham, the Panthers are 13-10. They earned the 28th seed after coming in fifth in a deep Big 8 Conference with a 6-8 record.

In the two regular season matchups on September 7th and October 3rd, Chapel Hill swept all six sets from the Panthers. The closest Orange came to winning a frame was the 2nd set in Hillsborough earlier this month, with the Tigers pulled out 25-23. The Tigers also won the 3rd set at CHHS 25-23 in September.

Orange was the fifth of five Big 8 teams to make the 3A state playoffs. Runner-up Northwood earned a 14-seed and will host Gray’s Creek (16-7) in the opening round. East Chapel Hill (15-11) will start on the road after earning a 24-seed and will open at Union Pines (19-6), the champions of the Tri-County Conference. Northern Durham (17-6) is seeded 23rd and goes to Cape Fear (24-3), the champions of the Patriot Conference who finished 16-0 in league play.

The 64-team field also includes Person, a former conference rival of Orange, Chapel Hill, Northern and East Chapel Hill. The Rockets are 20-0 in its first season in the Mid-State Conference, where they face teams such as Western Alamance and Northern Guilford. Person is the #2 overall seed and opens with Western Harnett on Saturday in Roxboro.

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