Another upset: Orange volleyball beats East 3-1

Updated: September 24, 2019

Wild West wisdom dictates there isn’t a horse that can’t be rode and there never was a rider that couldn’t be thrown.

The Big 8 Conference volleyball season isn’t even halfway over, and four of its teams are ranked in the MaxPreps top 25. Not one of them is undefeated in conference play.

Not after Monday night when Orange defeated East Chapel Hill 3-1 in surprisingly convincing fashion at Panther Gymnasium. The Wildcats took a nip-and-tuck opening set 25-27, staving off two set points. Orange took the final three frames 25-19, 25-12 and 25-20.

The irony is both teams ended last week with polar opposite results. On Friday, East Chapel Hill polished off Cedar Ridge 3-0 in front of a raucous crowd at Wildcat Gymnasium that was a showdown for first place in the Big 8 Conference.

On Thursday, Orange had its flattest performance of the season. Chapel Hill swept the Panthers 3-0 in a match that barely took an hour.

Afterwards, Orange coach Kelly Young squatted in front of her team for 15 minutes in an impassioned speech as the fans filtered out of the gym.

In short, Young wanted her team to loosen up. A day after the Chapel Hill loss, there were no wind sprints or meticulous review of fundamentals.

The practice consisted of simply playing volleyball.

“I think they want to have a perfect game, which just isn’t going to happen in this league,” Young said. “They’re human beings. They’re teenagers. They put a lot of stress on themselves. On Thursday, it looked like they hated what they were doing. So Friday, we just played. No drills. No corrections. We just played to remind them why they do this.”

Orange’s win also did a big favor to crosstown rival Cedar Ridge. The Red Wolves are now tied with East Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill in the loss column for 1st place in the Big 8 Conference. East (8-2, 4-1 in the Big 8), will face Northwood on Tuesday and Chapel Hill on Thursday.

Orange played without sophomore Avery Miller, who was injured. Senior Elizabeth Vosburg and sophomore Lottie Scully tied with a team-high eight kills. Vosburg had a whopping nine blocks. Scully also had 17 assists, nine digs, three blocks and two aces. Junior Chloe Riley finished with seven kills, 15 digs, and one block.

Senior Kaitlyn Werden finished with 18 assists, three kills, eleven digs and one ace.

With the win, Orange is now ranked #24 in the MaxPreps 3A polls. Orange and West Henderson are the only teams in the top 24 with five losses.

The Lady Panthers jumped out to a 8-2 lead in the second set. They pushed the lead to 20-12 before East called timeout.

The third set was even more lopsided. Orange led 19-11 before finishing the sett on a 6-1 run to take a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth set, a kill by Riley pushed Orange’s lead to 23-18.

Orange will play two more matches this week. They travel to Southern Durham on Tuesday, then host Northern Durham on Thursday.

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