Chapel Hill volleyball sweeps Orange

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Updated: September 20, 2019

In the past month, the Orange volleyball team won seven of its first eleven matches, beat previously undefeated Northern Durham and swept Northwood for the first time since 2016.

All of which is why Thursday night was so disappointing for the Lady Panthers.

Three-time defending Big 8 Champion Chapel Hill swept Orange inside Tiger Auxiliary Gymnasium on Thursday night in a contest that was never competitive. Chapel Hill, in the unusual role of playing for a share of 3rd place in the Big 8, rolled 25-18, 25-8 and 25-18.

Afterwards, Orange coach Kelly Young gathered the entire team in a corner of the gym and delivered a passionate talk for over ten minutes, almost longer than the 2nd set. The discussion may have gone on longer if the janitors hadn’t started turning out the lights.

A week after Cedar Ridge stunned Chapel Hill 3-2 in Hillsborough, Young looked at Thursday night as more than a battle for third place. It was a litmus test to see whether her squad was ready to step up to the forefront of the Big 8 and challenge Chapel Hill, East Chapel Hill and Cedar Ridge for the upper echelon.

Instead, the result was all too predictable. Chapel Hill has swept Orange in its last seven meetings. Orange hasn’t captured a set against the Tigers since 2015.

Young didn’t mince words postgame.

“We have a mentality against Chapel Hill where we come in defeated already,” Young said. “We have to get over that hump.”

Chapel Hill, which has spent the past month without junior Ellen Zwikker (the youngest daughter of former UNC center Serge Zwikker, who was at Thursday’s match), took control of the first set with a 5-1 run. Leading 15-12, Kaya Monrose and Kaya Merker had consecutive kills off the serve of Lauren Stanfa. The Tigers captured the set after a block from freshman Carly Sciborski.

The Tigers started the 2nd set on a 7-2 run off kills from Courtney Zwikker and an ace from Sciborski. Sam Breschi, the daughter of UNC men’s lacrosse coach Joe Brechi, ended the set with consecutive aces.

Orange started the third set with two straight points, its largest lead of the match. Chloe Riley and Lottie Scully had kills for Orange.

The 3rd set had five ties, but Chapel Hill assume command with a 6-1 run off kills from Sciborski and Zwikker. Orange got within 15-13 after several Tiger strikes went wide, but the Tigers ended the set and the match with a 8-3 run. Merkler had the final kill.

Orange (7-5, 2-2 in the Big 8) will play three matches next week. They host East Chapel Hill on Monday, travel to Southern Durham on Tuesday and host Northern Durham on Thursday.

In the meantime, Young hopes her team’s latest loss to Chapel Hill will serve as a lesson.

“The past few years, we’ve been beaten consistently by them,” Young said. “They’re state runner-ups. They got far (in the state playoffs). But they’re human. They’re another team just like anybody else. They’re beatable. Cedar Ridge proved that. We have to decide if we want it or not.”

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