The Magnificent 7: Filling the void of empty seats with big games

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Updated: September 20, 2021

This should be a time for big games and active gyms and stadiums.

There’s potential for drama in volleyball. Cedar Ridge, despite a tough loss to defending 3A State Champion D.H. Conley on Monday, still leads the Central Carolina Conference by a game over Northwood. Orange volleyball has three home games this week.

Plus, Orange will host two football games at Auman Stadium this week. The junior varsity faces Cedar Ridge on Thursday night, the only football game between the two teams from Hillsborough this year. On Friday, Orange will take on Williams in its first home conference game.

But fan participation is back to levels last seen in the spring. After the Orange County School Board’s vote last Monday, attendance has been cut back to two fans per spectator. Hopefully, the mandate will be lifted in time for October when Cedar Ridge could be playing for a volleyball conference championship. Plus, the Orange women’s tennis team is battling for first place in the Central Carolina Conference.

Last week was a solid one for Orange and Cedar Ridge in all of the fall sports. On Sunday, we tipped our hand for one of the honorees of the Magnificent 7 for this week. Here’s a complete list of the best performers of the fifth week of fall sports:

Sarah Durham: This week’s Orange Panther of the Week, Sarah finished tied for 2nd at the CCC meet at the Preserve at Jordan Lake. She finished with a 47, tied with Northwood’s Lily Jordan. Every weekend, Sarah practices her tee shots at Occoneechee Golf Course in Hillsborough. On Sunday afternoon, she was kind enough to meet us on a Sunday afternoon to film the interview that was posted on Monday.

Jinkie Andrews: The Orange tennis senior had two wins in Orange’s 8-1 win over Riverside last Tuesday. Andrews teamed with Tea Jones to win at #1 doubles 8-8. At #3 singles, Andrews defeated Riverside’s Willow Tobin 6-1, 6-2. On Thursday, Andrews earned another win as the Lady Panthers defeated Roxboro Community School 7-2.

Avery Miller: Stong overall game against Person with eight kills and six digs. Against Northwood, Miller had a season-high ten kills. She also finished with eight digs, an ace and a block.

Benjamin Weaver: The Cedar Ridge goalkeeper made some huge saves as the Red Wolves won the Hillsborough Derby over Orange 4-1 at Red Wolves Stadium on Wednesday night. Weaver, who transferred to Cedar Ridge after moving to Hillsborough from Pennsylvania over the summer, may have saved the game with 14:45 remaining when he made a kick save on a shot by Orange’s Darius Corbett with the Red Wolves clinging to a 2-1 lead. Weaver also played well against Northwood in a tight 2-1 loss in Pittsboro, a game where the game-winning goal was scored with two minutes remaining.

Chris Mendez: Mendez scored the game-winning goal for the Red Wolves against Orange. Mendez fired eight shots against the Panthers, five of them on goal. He also finished the scoring when he collected his own rebound and deposited it into the net with 6:02 remaining.

Hannah Shinnick: The Cedar Ridge women’s tennis team defeated Western Alamance 5-4 last week in Hillsborough. Shinnick earned two big wins. She started with a victory at #3 singles over Madison Randleman 6-3, 6-3. At #2 doubles, Shinnick teamed with Olivia Kelly to win 8-5. It was a pair of Cedar Ridge freshmen, Ella Caltabiano and Adeline Cummings, who wrapped up the dual match victory with a 8-3 win at #3 doubles.

Julie Altieri: The Cedar Ridge volleyball team defeated Western Alamance 3-1 last Thursday. Altieri had 27 assists against the Warriors as the Red Wolves remained undefeated in the CCC. Altieri had three aces in the four set to wrap up the win for the Red Wolves. Cedar Ridge will resume conference play on Thursday with a critical game against Person.

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