Orange volleyball beats Carrboro 3-1 behind Wimsatt, Jordan-Cornell

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Updated: September 20, 2022

For two schools separated by only 16 miles, it seems surprising that Orange and Carrboro hadn’t met in volleyball in 14 years.

On Monday night, Orange made a long sought after victory over the Jaguars worth the wait.

In possibly its most complete performance of the season, the Lady Panthers defeated the Jaguars 3-1 on scores of 25-19, 25-12, 16-25 and 26-24. Orange (10-6) is now 3-0 lifetime against Carrboro.

Carrboro has won three straight conference championships and 43 consecutive league matches, extending back to its days as a 2A school (playing in the Mid-State Conference) and its current status in the 3A/2A Northern Lakes Conference.

Orange junior Ella Wimsatt finished with ten kills and 23 digs. Freshman middle blocker Ava Wilkinson had six kills while her sister, senior Allie Wilkinson, slammed home match point to end a nonconfernce match that extended to nearly two hours in front of a sizable crowd at Panthers Gymnasium.

Senior Erin Jordan-Cornell factored in the biggest down the stretch of a tight opening set. Jordan-Cornell evened things at 18-18 with a kill set up by freshman Katie Silcott, who finished with 19 assists. That triggered a 5-0 Orange run which continued when Jordan-Cornell dunked home a ball that hung precariously in the air over the net. Jordan-Cornell’s stuffed an attack by Carrboro’s Emily Stutts for a block, putting Orange’s lead at 22-18.

Following a kill by Wimsatt, Allie Wilkerson completed the set with a spike set up by Wilcott to conclude a lengthy point that included junior Josie Crawford making three digs.

Orange never trailed in the second set, which couldn’t have gone any better for the home team. It started with senior Caitlin Carden getting a rare kill, which sent the Orange bench into delirium. Orange led 10-4 when Ava Wilkerson started notched a kill to start a spree of eight straight Lady Panthers points. Wimsatt put Orange ahead 2-0 off a spike to wrap up the set 25-12.

“The second set was one of the best sets we’ve ever played,” said Jordan-Cornell. “Our coach said it was beautiful. And it really was. It was really flowing. Everybody was high-fiving each other and it felt really good.”

Carrboro (8-5), the 2017 2A State Champions, fought back from an early 2-0 deficit with five consecutive points. The Jaguars won the third set 25-16 off a kill by junior Catherine Rucker.

Orange had six different players register kills in the fourth and final set, which included seven ties. Wimsatt even the frame 8-8 with an attack off an assist from Silcott, which started a 5-0 Orange run. Following an ace by Allie Wilkerson and kills by Wilkerson and Jordan-Cornell, Orange led 12-8, leading to a Carrboro timeout. Silcott had five assists in the third set.

“It’s definitely been really challenging,” Silcott said. “I’ve been trying to adjust to stronger play as I’m playing older students. But it’s also been a lot of fun being challenged. It’s definitely been a fun experience.”

Orange crept closer to match point despite some tenuous moments late. It appeared that Wimsatt put Orange ahead 21-19 with a kill, but she was called for going over the line under the net, leading to a lengthy discussion between an official and Orange coach Kelly Young. After the Lady Panthers got a side out, Carden served up another ace to put Orange ahead 23-20.

Carrboro extended the fourth set into overtime following a point by Rucker. Orange’s Ashlyn Davis returned possession to the home side following a kill, which led to Wilkerson finishing things off.

“I like our chemistry,” Jordan-Cornell said. “We pretty much love each other. We have a lot of seniors and our freshmen are like our little babies. It’s a great team chemistry and it all goes nice together.”

Orange will travel to Eastern Alamance on Tuesday night, followed by a trip to Western Alamance on Thursday.

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