Month: September 2023

Volleyball notebook: Cedar Ridge rallies to beat Person 3-1 behind Alverson’s 38 assists; Wimsatt leads Orange past Warriors

Cedar Ridge 3, Person 1: Winning at Person just means a little bit more. Regardless of the Rockets record in volleyball, the visiting team can always count on the home grandstand being close to full, if not full capacity. Cedar Ridge claimed its third straight victory over Person in Roxboro on scores of 28-30, 25-21, 25-16 and 25-22.

Senior Grayling Serge finished with 21 kills, a season-high, along with nine digs. Sophomore Claire Hargett finished with 17 kills and 29 digs. Senior Rachel Alverson finished with 38 assist and eleven digs.

The first set went to a thrilling overtime where the Red Wolves fought off three set points until Person finally took the opening stanza. There were seven leads changes in the opening frame. Serge had nine kills in the opening set, but Person built a 17-12 lead after an 8-3 run. Cedar Ridge rolled to tie with seven consecutive points while Hargett was serving. Senior Addie Reid scored an electric kill off an assist from Alverson to even the set 22-22. Person took the lead back with a block. Serge sent the match into overtime with a kill. Person finally scored match point when a Red Wolf volley went into the net.

The Red Wolves recovered and took the final three sets. The second set was even 20-20 when Cedar Ridge closed with five of the final six points. Ellie Woolson put the Red Wolves into the lead as she reached over the next to interrupt a Person possession and score a kill.. Alverson clinched set point with an ace.

The Red Wolves led from wire-to-wire in the third set. Senior Natasha Buchler-Fosado, now a libero, had a run of three consecutive aces to put Cedar Ridge ahead 8-3. Cedar Ridge (8-5, 5-1 in the Central Carolina Conference) finished the frame with three of the last four points, ending with a kill by Serge.

At one point in the fourth set, Person led 9-4. The Red Wolves started a comeback after back-to-back aces from Serge. Cedar Ridge scored five consecutive points to take a 19-17 lead, ending the run with a joust that Reid won at the net. After a kill by Hargett put the Red Wolves ahead 24-22, a return by Person went into the net on match point.

Cedar Ridge will return home to face Southern Alamance on Tuesday.

Orange 3, Western Alamance 0: Orange only trailed twice in the entire match in a sweep of Western Alamance on Thursday night, ending a span of three home matches in three days for the Lady Panthers.

Orange scored the first seven points of the first set, but the Warriors made a rally to narrow the Lady Panthers’ lead to 7-4. Senior Ella Wimsatt, who led Orange in kills, spiked home the final two points of the first set, winning 25-16.

Western Alamance took a 2-1 lead to open the second frame behind a kill from Reese Walker. Orange responded with seven straight points to take control of the set. Wimsatt had an ace while Sophomore Ava Wilkerson scored two kills. The Lady Panthers finished the set on a 8-2 run to win it 25-7 behind a spike from sophomore Aubrey Jordan.

Orange won the final set 25-11. They opened by scoring seven of the first nine points. starting with consecutive kills by Wilkerson. Leading 3-2, Orange reeled off four straight points. An ace by freshman Sawyer White sewed up the victory on match point.

Orange has now won 13 in a row. They’re 15-3 overall, 6-0 in the CCC. Midway through its conference schedule, Orange has won all 18 of its sets in conference play. Overall, they’ve won 38 of the last 39 sets. The only exception came on Wednesday night when they dropped the opening set against Falls Lake. The Lady Panthers would eventually win 3-1.

Orange will travel to Walter Williams on Tuesday night. They will return home to face Cedar Ridge on Thursday in a rematch from earlier this year. Orange defeated Cedar Ridge on September 5.

The Magnificent 7: Random thoughts at midseason

–There are some very special conference championship chases going on right now. The Cedar Ridge men’s soccer team is in first place in the Central Carolina Conference after a resounding night at Red Wolves Stadium on Wednesday. Salomon Hernandez scored on a header with 4:17 remaining in game off an assist from Illah Babchenko. The Red Wolves have never won a conference championship as a 3A team in men’s soccer. While they still have seven conference games remaining, the Red Wolves on the pitch is bringing a lot of energy to Red Wolves Stadium. They return home to face Northwood on Tuesdays.

–Who can beat the Orange volleyball team in the CCC? Orange swept Western Alamance on Thursday night to improve to 6-0 in conference play. Orange has won all 18 sets in league play and 38 of its last 39 overall. Cedar Ridge travels to Orange next Thursday. If the Red Wolves can’t beat Orange, the Lady Panthers could gain the elusive conference championship well before the regular season ends.

–Really hope the Person football coach slept well last Friday night with his team leading Cedar Ridge 67-0. With seconds drifting away on a running clock in the fourth quarter, his team ran hurry up to the line so they could tact on another touchdown. The situation for Cedar Ridge football is tough, but I’ve been around long enough to see programs that appeared to have little hope turn things around. Happened at Jordan. Happened at Chapel Hill. Happened at Hillside. Come to think of it, I can recall a Hillside team that trailed Northern Durham 51-0 at halftime in 2000. Northern kicked a field goal on the final play of the first half. The next year, they beat Northern. In fact, Hillside had the game won and elected to throw a 47-yard touchdown in the final minute in an example of what Hillside’s then-coach called “Steve Spurrier coaching.” I hope Cedar Ridge’s returning players have long memories.

  1. Graylinn Serge, Cedar Ridge, Sr: Finished with a season-high 18 kills against East Chapel Hill in a five-set win inside Wildcats Gymnasium. On September 12 against Western Alamance, Serge had 13 kills with 14 digs, and four aces in a 3-1 Red Wolves win. In a sweep of Walter Williams, Serge had eleven kills, 14 digs and two aces as the Red Wolves won three matches in four days.
  2. Naomi Dyreng, Cedar Ridge, Jr.: Dyreng had her second consecutive first place finish for the Cedar Ridge women’s cross country team. She led the pack during a CCC meet at Orange High with a time of 21:54.00. On September 7, Dyreng finished first at a meet on her home course. The Cedar Ridge women finished first at the Orange meet.
  3. Erik Galunas, Cedar Ridge, Soph.: The goalkeeper for the Cedar Ridge men’s soccer team, Galunas had a clean sheet against Southern Alamance in Graham on September 11. Galunas made a diving save in the final minute to keep the game level in the final minute. Two nights later, the Red Wolves earned a 2-1 victory over Orange in the opening leg of the Hillsborough Derby at Red Wolves Stadium. Galunas had eight saves.
  4. Ava Wilkerson, Orange, Soph.: Had 12 kills against Roxboro Community School on September 13. She also had an ace and three digs. Wilkerson finished with eight kills in a sweep of Southern Alamance in Graham. Orange has won 13 in a row. Wilkerson has 223 kills for an Orange team looking to win its first conference championship in volleyball since the mid-2000s.
  5. DeAndre Brown, Orange, Jr.: Brown led the Orange football team with 16 tackles in a rugged game at Western Alamance last Friday. He added his first rushing touchdown on a four-yard run in the third quarter. Midway through the season, Brown leads Orange with 60 tackles and has four sacks, one shy of the team lead.
  6. Ellie Wilson, Orange, Fr.: Wilson had the longest match of her young career in the Orange women’s tennis team’s win over Roxboro Community School. Wilson defeated Elizabeth Ess 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 10-8. Two days later against Southern Alamance, Wilson won another three-set match against Morgan Edmunds 4-6, 6-4, 13-11.
  7. Cameron Mayhew, Cedar Ridge, Sr: Mayhew continued an impressive season for the Cedar Ridge women’s tennis team with a singles win against Western Alamance’s Amelia Weaver 6-1, 6-2. Against Walter Williams, Mayhew won her #1 singles match over Abigail Brown 6-3, 6-1. Mayhew is 8-1 in singles action this year.

Reinventing the Steel: Cedar Ridge soccer stuns W. Alamance 1-0 behind Hernandez’s header, takes 1st place in CCC

There was one thought on the mind of Chauncey Brummell with 27:36 remaining in regulation against Western Alamance.

“Game over.”

Cedar Ridge had just been whistled for a foul inside the box when Lucas Dumayne was pushed down trying to get into position for a throw-in by Camden Oliveira. Warriors junior striker Konnor Johnson, who had a hat trick last week against Orange, would take the penalty kick.

Cedar Ridge goalkeeper Erik Galunas didn’t shy away from the challenge while he awaited Johnson’s attempt. As Johnson fired a rocket at the net, Galunas guessed correctly that he would aim at the upper right corner.

But the attempt zoomed over the crossbar. Cedar Ridge had new life in a battle for first place in the Central Carolina Conference at Red Wolves Stadium.

Ironically, the captain of Cedar Ridge’s defensive back line, who proved to have many successful clearances in a game where possession was split evenly, would come up with the only offense of the night.

The scoring sequence was set up by Cedar Ridge co-Captain Dominic McNerney, who had a 40-yard run and fired a shot off Western Alamance goalkeeper Eamon Hipps off a tough angle over the end line for a corner. Cedar Ridge midfielder Illah Babchenko’s first corner attempt  was quickly turned away by Western Alamance midfielder Luis Guerrero over the end line. Babchenko’s second attempt was sent out of the box by Oliveria, but Babchenko won the ball back. His third cross hovered over the six yard box, where junior Salomon Hernandez gained position on Dumayne. Without going over Dumayne’s back, Hernandez stood outside the center of the six-yard box and made enough contact with the ball to nudge it into the lower left corner of the net past Hipps with 4:17 remaining in regulation.

A wild celebration ensued as the Red Wolves chased Hernandez onto the track. After a few successful clearances by Giovani Yanez and Abazar Babiker in the waning minutes, the time ran out and Cedar Ridge had its biggest soccer win in recent memory.

The Red Wolves (8-1-2, 4-0-1 in the CCC) defeated Western Alamance 1-0. It was the Red Wolves first win since the Warriors joined the CCC in 2021. The Red Wolves are now undefeated in the CCC after a stunning upset of a Warriors team that won the 2021 3A State Championship.

“Solomon made some really big defensive stops,” Brummell said. “You have to give credit to Western Alamance. They are a great team. There’s a lot of tradition behind that program. This was a big step for our program tonight.”

After Cedar Ridge largely controlled possession in the first half, Western Alamance (6-5, 3-1) opened the second half with a furious rally where Guerrero found Johnson on the doorstep of the net, but Yanez shielded him from an open net. The best Johnson could do was loft a shot over the next.

Minutes later, Western Alamance’s Blake Bacchus took a free kick and unleashed a rocket that banged against the right post. The rebound careened right to Guerrero, who fired wide right of the net.

Up until Hernandez’s game-winner, Cedar Ridge’s best chance came with 20:42 remaining when McNerney had a long throw-in 25 yards from the net. McNerney sent a pinpoint pass to sophomore Edbar Lopez, whose diving header went just wide of the net.

After a joyous team meeting, the Cedar Ridge players gathered for a team picture in front of the scoreboard. Their goal at the beginning of the season was to make the state playoffs. Now, they’re aiming for something higher with a trip to powerful Walter Williams set for Monday night.

“I feel my entire defensive outside line stepped up,” Brummell said. “From the defense to the midfield, I think these boys showed tonight that they want to play soccer. To knock off a state championship team like Western Alamance, that’s not easy to do. Credit Solomon for the header and the game-winner. He saved us.”

Orange volleyball wins 12th straight over Falls Lake behind Wimsatt’s 16 kills, Silcott’s 34 assists

There’s a new dimension of winning for the Orange volleyball program.

They’ve been successful, with winning seasons each of the last four years and state playoff victories in 2021 and 2022.

Now, it’s a whole new level. The Lady Panthers are ranked #1 in the current 3A East RPI rankings, a first in school history. They’re also in first place in the Central Carolina Conference. For years, Cardinal Gibbons stood in the way of the Lady Panthers for a league title in the 2A ranks. For the past three years, the Lady Panthers have played second fiddle to Cedar Ridge in the CCC.

That’s not the case in 2023, at least at the moment. Orange is 5-0 in the CCC with the second half of the conference slate set to start on Thursday night. On Wednesday, Orange stepped outside of conference play to face the top-ranked team in the 1A East RPI rankings. While Falls Lake ended Orange’s streak of 32 consecutive victorious sets, the Firebirds didn’t end the Lady Panther winning streak.

After Falls Lake (9-3) captured the first set, Orange responded with wins in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th to clinch its 12th straight win inside Panther Gymnasium. The Lady Panthers (14-3), who defeated Falls Lake in Creedmoor on August 24, prevailed on scores of 18-25, 25-19, 25-21 and 25-18.

Senior Ella Wimsatt finished with 16 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore Katie Silcott finished with 34 assists and eight digs. Another sophomore, Aubrey Jordan, had ten kills and two blocks.

There were four lead changes in the opening set. Orange started on an 9-6 run after an ace by Josie Crawford, which led to a Firebird time out. Falls Lake went on an 9-1 run to take a 22-16 lead, which included two kills by senior co-Captain Anna Holcombe, as well as points by junior Jenae Mason and sophomore Tess DeZurik. Mason had back-to-back kills assisted by Gemma Ines, leading to set point which was sent long on an attack attempt by Orange.

The Firebirds started strong in the second set, building an 8-1 lead behind three straight kills by Holcombe, which led to a timeout by Orange coach Hope Heverly. The Lady Panthers responded with a 14-2 run to take a 20-13 lead. Wimsatt took control of the set, which he racked up eight kills, six digs and two aces. At one point, Wimsatt had three straight kills to give Orange a 15-12 lead. Jordan notched consecutive points assisted by Silcott to increase the Lady Panther advantage to 20-13. Wimsatt evened the match when she spiked home a point on set point.

In the third set, Orange built a 14-5 lead following an ace by Abby Silinski and consecutive kills by Wimsatt and Mariah Poole. It appeared would blow out the Firebirds after an ace by Silcott put Orange ahead 22-11, but the Firebirds scored ten straight points. Kelcey Peterson’s kill and a return by Orange that went wide narrowed the Lady Panther lead to 22-21. Orange sophomore Ava Wilkerson, who finished with nine kills, scored a crucial point that led to an Orange side out. Wilkerson ended the set with a kill on set point assisted by Silcott at the net.

Orange led 8-7 when they went on a 7-3 spurt to take control of the fourth set. Jordan and sophomore Mariah Poole had back-to-back blocks to give Orange a 15-9 lead. Wimsatt had a wild dig off an attack from Holcombe that led to a kill from Jordan, which led to a Falls Lake timeout. Orange took its largest advantage of the set at 22-14 off an ace by Silcott. Wimatt’s fifth kill of the frame came on match point.

Orange will conclude a three-match homestead when they face Western Alamance on Thursday night (tonight) in Hillsborough. The Lady Panthers swept the Warriors in Elon on August 29.


Odds and Sods: Kruse, Mehl help Orange women’s tennis beat Eastern; Orange’s Schmid, Cedar Ridge’s Nyreng win cross country races

Women’s Tennis: Orange 9, Eastern Alamance 0: Sophomore Molly Kruse won two matches for the Orange women’s tennis team in a successful return to Central Carolina Conference action on Monday in Hillsborough.

Kruse defeated Madison Drewery 6-0, 6-0 at #2 singles. Later, Kruse teamed with senior Makayla Davis to defeat Drewery and Camila Rosa 8-1 at #1 doubles. It was Kruse’s first appearance at #1 doubles.

Erinn Sollars captured her match at #1 singles against Rosa 6-1, 6-0. Sophomore Kyla Mehl defeated Ryan Tanner 6-4, 6-3. Orange sophomore Linsday Woodell defeated Jayci White 6-0, 6-0. Another sophomore, Casey Robinson, won over Areli Silva-Flores 6-0, 6-0.

Adeline Alvis and Ellie Wilson defeated Tanner and White 8-1. Orange is 8-3 overall, 4-2 in the CCC. The Lady Panthers will host Western Alamance on Thursday.

Orange 9, Southern Alamance 0: Last Thursday, Orange won its first conference trip to Graham.

Erinn and Shannon Sollars won both of their singles matches, then teamed to win at #1 doubles. Erin defeated Paicey Cameron 6-1, 6-0. At #2 singles, Shannon defeated Madalyn Corbett 6-0, 6-0. The Sollars sisters defeated Faith Moore and Cameron 8-0.

Senior Makayla Davis, sophomore Molly Kruse and Kyla Mehl each won two matches against the Patriots. Davis defeated Morgan Isley 6-3, 6-0. At #5 singles, Kruse defeated Dayves Waggle 6-0, 6-0. Mehl defeated Ava Lynch 6-3, 6-1.

In the longest match of the day, Orange freshman Ellie Wilson defeated Morgan Edmunds 4-6, 6-4 13-11 (10-point tiebreaker) at #4 singles.

Davis and Kruse won at #2 doubles over Isley and Edmunds 6-4. Mehl teamed with senior Violet Shaw to defeat Corbett and Waggle 8-3.

Men’s Cross Country, Orange 15, Cedar Ridge 58, Southern Alamance 63: Orange hosted its annual cross country meet at Auman Stadium on September 12. Orange senior Gabriel Schmid, the defending 3A State individual champion running on his home course, earned his third win of the season finishing first at 17:25. Orange had the top six runners en route to a team victory.

Sophomore Myles Jerman (18:56) finished second, followed by Nolan Hufner (19:10), Alden Cathey (19:46), Peter Musser (20:04), Aiden Viola (20:21). Cedar Ridge’s top finisher was sophomore Ryan Matthews, who came in seventh at 20:55. Cedar Ridge sophomore Henry Alexander was 7th (20:56). Brian Dehart was the leading runner for Southern Alamance at 20:58.

Orange sophomore Lucas Van Mater came in 11th (20:33). Cedar Ridge senior Grayson Weisnfeld was 13th (21:48), while the Red Wolves Elie Nadiriwe was 14th (21:58).

The Orange men’s cross country team, which won the Mideast Regional Championship in 2021, has finished first in all of its Central Carolina Conference meets thus far in 2023.

Women’s Cross Country, Cedar Ridge 21, Orange 35: For the second time in two weeks, Cedar Ridge’s Naomi Dyreng finished first to help the Cedar Ridge women’s cross country team to a win inside Auman Stadium.

Dyreng, who won three regional championships at the Mideast Regional Track & Field Championship last year, finished first at 21:54. It was her second first place finish of the year. Abigail Klaitman of the Red Wolves came in second at 22:28. Caroline Cathey was the highest placer for Orange at 25:32.

Kate Finnegan of Cedar Ridge finished fourth (25:42) as the Red Wolves had six of the top ten finishers. Among the other Cedar Ridge runners to finish in the top ten: Cia Biddix finished sixth (25:47), Serena Summers came in eighth (26:02) and Anna Peterson finished 10th (27:04).

Orange’s Kassi Scarantino finished fifth at 25:45. Channing Mahaney came in seventh at 25:48. Orange’s Grace Pell crossed the finish line in 9th place (26:50).

Cedar Ridge had runners place 12th-through-15th. In 12th place was Rebecca Fullwood (27:21), while Gracie Whitaker finished 13th (27:28), Kaitlyn Horn was 14th (28:18) and Safiyya Frej was 15th (28:42).

The Central Carolina Conference cross country championships will be held in Burlington in Burlington on October 18. The 3A Mideast Regional Championships will take place at Louisburg High School on October 28. It’s a shift for the regional championships, which were held at Northwood High for years. Northwood moved down to 2A during the summer.

The 3A State Championships will take place at the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville, it’s traditional home. The State Championships will take place on November 4.

Orange volleyball’s Ava Wilkerson and Sawyer White discuss win over Eastern Alamance

The Orange volleyball team is halfway to its first regular season championship in volleyball since 2005. On Tuesday night, Orange swept Eastern Alamance for its tenth straight win at Panther Gymnasium on scores of 25-14, 25-12 and 25-13. The Lady Panthers have now won 32 consecutive sets dating back to August 21, when they dropped the 2nd set to Seaforth in Pittsboro. Sophomore middle blocker Ava Wilkerson had seven kills, three aces and a block to win set point in the 2nd. Freshman Sawyer White made her first career start and finished with a career-high 14 assists. She also had three digs. Orange is now 5-0 in the Central Carolina Conference and are in sole possession of first place. The Lady Panthers are currently ranked #1 in the 3A East RPI rankings, ahead of defending 3A Eastern Regional Champion J.H. Rose. Sophomore Aubrey Jordan had 12 kills for the Lady Panthers. The match against Eastern Alamance kicked off a three-game homestead for Orange. They will face Falls Lake, the #1 ranked team in the 1A East RPI rankings, on Wednesday night in Hillsborough. On Thursday, Orange will host Western Alamance in a rematch from last month. Orange swept the Warriors in Elon on August 29.

Orange sophomore Dallas Johnson discusses soccer win over Person

After a frustrating month, the Orange men’s soccer team returned to the win column on Monday night. The Panthers defeated Person 4-1 at Orange Soccer Park. Sophomore Dallas Johnson scored his first varsity goal on a penalty kick in the first half. Another sophomore Daniel Romero, notched the game-winning goal for the Panthers, who earned its second win of the season. Junior Angel Chavez also scored in the first half, while senior Emmanuel Mil Cruz added a goal off a header on a gorgeous cross in the second half. Mil Cruz’s goal came off an assist from sophomore Yore Tapia Mendez. Mil Cruz leads Orange with three goals, including the game-winner in the Panthers’ season-opening victory over Durham School of the Arts. Orange lost plenty of players from last year’s team that reached the 3A State playoffs for the first time since 2017. Senior goalkeeper Finn Kelly made two saves to earn his second win of the season. Orange will return to action on Wednesday night when they face Southern Alamance at Redmond Stadium in Graham.