Month: September 2023

Wimsatt, Jordan notch ten kills, Orange volleyball sweeps Cedar Ridge, on verge of CCC title

It has been 18 years since the Orange volleyball team has won a conference championship.

Now, it’s only a matter of time before the Lady Panthers finally raise the trophy that has eluded them for so long.

While that long drought isn’t quite over yet, Orange did end one streak on Thursday night. They ended a four-game losing streak to Cedar Ridge inside Panther Gymnasium.

In anticlimactic fashion, Orange swept Cedar Ridge 3-0 on scores of 25-19, 25-19 and 25-11. It was the first time Orange clinched a home win over the Red Wolves since 2018.

More importantly, Orange (17-3, 8-0 in the Central Carolina Conference) has all but locked up the conference title. They now lead Cedar Ridge by two games in the CCC, plus the head-to-head tiebreaker. With wins next week over Person and Southern Alamance, Orange will clinch first place.

“We were confident,” said Orange coach Hope Heverly. “But it was a confidence that came from working hard and putting in a lot of extra work on the outside. We made some adjustments yesterday during practice to be ready for today. We worked on the mental aspect of the game and not just the X’s and O’s and just can see the players are thinking about the mental part and pushing through.”

The trappings of a big rivalry match were impossible to ignore as anticipation built on Thursday night. It was the largest crowd of the year at Panther Gymnasium. The Orange student section was packed from the front row to the rafters. Cedar Ridge’s student section, never afraid to be the minority in an opposing gym, lined up to the left end of the floor, parallel to their squad’s bench.

Orange sophomore setter Katie Silcott finished with 29 assists and five aces. Sophomore outside hitter Aubrey Jordan registered ten kills, while middle blocker Ava Wilkerson had eight kills, one block and one assist.

Cedar Ridge sophomore Claire Hargett had seven kills and 13 digs for the Red Wolves (10-6, 6-2), who suffered only its second conference loss since the 2020 season. Senior Addie Reid had four kills and four blocks.

The opening set included three lead changes and five ties, but it was the only competitive frame of the night. Orange steadily began to pull away following a 4-0 run where Wimsatt racked up consecutive kills, all assisted by Silcott. A kill by Reid drew the Red Wolves to within 10-9, but that was as close as they would get. Orange responded with a 7-1 run, which included back-to-back spikes by Wilkerson and an ace from Silcott, which led to the first Cedar Ridge timeout. An ace by Josie Crawford put the Lady Panthers ahead 23-17. Wimsatt would close out the opening set with a kill suppled by Silcott.

Orange didn’t trail again the rest of the night. Jordan had six kills in the second set, where Orange started with an 11-2 run. It included an ace by Silcott and two kills by Jordan. The Red Wolves chipped away at its deficit with a 6-2 run where Ellamarie Perel scored a kid, along with Hargett. Orange bounced back with four straight points where Wimsatt, Jordan, and Wilkerson all spiked home points. Jordan scored set point to vault Orange ahead two sets.

Orange started the third set with an 8-2 run, included a block by Wilkerson and two kills by Jordan. The Lady Panthers went on a 5-0 run to take a 13-5 lead after a kill by Wimsatt. Silcott added another ace late.

Orange has won all 24 of its sets thus far in conference play, a run that Cedar Ridge can relate to from year’s past. The Red Wolves are the three-time defending conference champions. Going into Thursday, they’re still ranked #6 in the 3A East RPI rankings.

But Orange has been waiting for four years to surpass the Red Wolves for local volleyball supremacy. After plenty of frustration and losses in the postseason to their neighbors to the west, Orange volleyball’s time has finally come.

Where, and when, it ends is anyone’s guess.

Orange volleyball’s Ella Wimsatt & Abby Silinski discuss win over Cedar Ridge

The long wait for the Orange volleyball team to defeat its crosstown rival inside Panther Gymnasium is over. On Thursday night, Orange remained undefeated in the Central Carolina Conference with a 3-0 victory over the Red Wolves. It was the first time that Orange defeated Cedar Ridge at home since 2018. Once again, Ella Wimsatt was huge for the Lady Panthers. The senior had ten kills and 18 digs. Senior Abby Silinski had eight digs for the Panthers. Orange is now one step closer to its first conference championship in volleyball since 2005. The Lady Panthers lead Cedar Ridge by two games in the Central Carolina Conference with four games remaining. Orange also controls the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Red Wolves, which means the Lady Panthers need just two wins to clinch the outright championship. Sophomore Aubrey Jordan had ten kills for Orange, while sophomore setter Katie Silcott finished with 29 assists and five aces. Orange hasn’t lost a set against a Central Carolina Conference opponent yet this season. The Lady Panthers will travel to Person on Tuesday night. They will venture home to face Southern Alamance on Thursday in Hillsborough.

Orange volleyball’s Ella Wimsatt and Abby Silinski discuss win over Cedar Ridge

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Cedar Ridge women’s tennis Cameron Mayhew and Adeline Cummings discuss win over Orange

The Cedar Ridge women’s tennis team has swept the season series from its crosstown rival. On Wednesday night at Orange High Tennis Courts, the Red Wolves defeated Orange 6-3. The victory keeps Cedar Ridge’s hopes alive of playing in the 3A State Dual Tennis Tournament for the first time since 2016. Senior Cameron Mayhew came through with one of her finest performances of the year. She won her #1 singles match over Erinn Sollars 6-2, 6-1. Later in the night, Mayhew teamed with Adeline Cummings to clinch the match for Cedar Ridge. Mayhew and Cummings defeated Erin and Shannon Sollars 8-4. Cummings also won two matches on the night. In the #3 singles match, Cummings defeated Makayla Davis 6-0, 4-6, 11-9. Cedar Ridge senior Dupree Sorenson won at #6 singles over Kyla Mehl 6-2, 6-3 to give the Red Wolves a 4-2 edge in the six singles matches. Junior Ella Caltabiano and senior Catherine Ballenger won at #2 doubles over Davis and Molly Kruse 8-6. Cedar Ridge improves to 8-4 overall, 6-1 in the Central Carolina Conference. The Red Wolves will continue to pursue Walter Williams over the final two weeks of the regular season. Cedar Ridge will host Eastern Alamance on Monday in Hillsborough.

Cedar Ridge women’s tennis Cameron Mayhew & Adeline Cummings discuss win over Orange

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Volleyball Alumni Update: Lloyd helps Bucknell to first road win at Lehigh in 13 years

Cameron Lloyd: The Bucknell Bison defeated archival Lehigh on the road for the first time since 2010 on Friday night. The Bison rallied to win 3-2 on scores of 21-25, 25-16, 21-25, 27-25, 15-13. Lloyd had five kills and eight digs. The following day, Bucknell defeated Lafayette 3-1 (25-17, 25-23, 21-25, and 25-13) for its second Patriot League win. Lloyd was third on the team with nine kills, along with 14 digs. She also had one ace. Bucknell is 6-7, 2-2 in the Patriot League. They will face Navy later today in Annapolis, MD.

Cameron Lanier:  Last Saturday, UNC Wilmington swept Elon at the Schar Center (25-19, 25-22, 25-20). Lanier paced the Phoenix with eight kills. She also had six digs and one assist. It was the third straight match that Lanier led the Phoenix in kills. On Saturday, the Seahawks defeated the Phoenix 3-2 (14-25, 18-25, 34-32, 25-18 and 15-12). The Phoenix had a match point in the third for a sweep. Lanier finished with ten kills, nine digs and an assist. Elon is 3-10, 0-4 in the CAA. On Friday, they will host Northeastern.

Lottie Scully: Colgate defeated the Binghamton Bearcats 3-0 at West Gym in Binghamton, New York on Wednesday. The Red Raiders won on scores of 25-22, 25-18 and 25-13. Scully had 15 assists, eleven digs, and three kills. Binghamton is 6-8. Later today, they start play in the American East Conference when they face the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Anaya Carter: Last Saturday, Division II UNC Pembroke swept Southern Wesleyan (25-18, 26-24, 25-20) at Tysinger Gymnasium in Central, SC. Carter played in all three sets and had seven digs with two aces. On Tuesday, the Braves defeated Barton College 3-2 (20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 21-25 and 15-7) at Wilson Gymnasium in Wilson. Carter played all five sets and registered nine digs and two aces. UNC Pembroke is 8-7 overall, 2-2 in Conference Carolinas. They will host Converse in Pembroke on Friday, then take on Belmont Abbey on Saturday.

Allie Wilkerson: The Division III Averett Cougars remain undefeated in Old Dominion Athletic Conference play. On Saturday, the Cougars defeated Eastern Mennonite University 3-2 (15-25, 25-17, 14-25, 25-18, 17-15). As a freshman, Wilkerson led the team with ten kills, along with two digs, two aces and one block. On Wednesday, Averett won at Guilford College 3-1 (25-23, 18-25, 25-20, 25-22) at Reagan-Brown Field House in Greensboro. Wilkerson had seven kills, four digs, one ace. Averett is 10-4 overall and leads the ODAC with a 5-0 record. They will host Randolph-Macon on Friday at the Stuart James Grant Center in Danville, VA.

Julie Altieri: The Division III Salisbury Seagulls dropped all three matches in the Johns Hopkins Invitational at the Newton White Center in Baltimore last weekend. On Friday, Johns Hopkins defeated the Seagulls 3-1 (25-16, 25-14, 17-15, 25-12). Altieri is now starting as the setter for Salisbury and finished with a team-high 24 assists. She added ten digs, three aces, and one kill. On Saturday, Mount Union defeated Salisbury 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-16). Altieri had 18 assists, six kills (second on the team), five digs and one ace. Later on Saturday, Scranton defeated Salisbury 3-1 (25-23, 25-14, 14-25, 25-23). Altieri had 25 assists, three digs and two aces. Salisbury is 7-5. They will host Mary Washington and Stevens for a tri-match this weekend.

Ashlyn Davis: The University of Lynchburg defeated Ferrum 3-1 (25-23, 27-25, 25-27, 25-19) inside Swartz Gymnasium in Ferrum, VA on Saturday. Davis played one set for Lynchburg. The Hornets are 4-7, 1-4 in the ODAC.

Mayhew, Cummings’ doubles win clinches Cedar Ridge’s tennis victory over Orange 6-3

In Steve Mayhew’s playing days, it was called “Pine Valley.”

As a player under coach Nick Walker in the 1980s, the fledging tennis program at Orange High didn’t have a series of country club courts to play on like their brethren at nearby schools. But their court had flavor. Situated across a secondary road separating Stanford Middle School from the senior institution, Orange’s tennis court was shrouded by pine trees and enveloped by a cage. If it wasn’t for the lights that shined well off into the distance before closing at 9PM, it would be easy to miss.

This was once Mayhew’s playground, where he played alongside Russell Westbrook, who went on to be Orange’s cross country coach in 2016. After he graduated and developed in life, Mayhew passed his love of tennis to his children Josh and Cameron.

On Wednesday night, Mayhew came full circle. One final time before he retires next month, he returned to the courts he once played on to coach against the school he once played for. In his fourth and final season as Cedar Ridge women’s tennis coach, Mayhew went out a winner to keep the Red Wolves hopes for a birth in the 3A State Dual Team Tournament alive.

Cameron Mayhew and Adeline Cummings defeated Orange’s top doubles team of Erinn and Shannon Sollars for the clinching victory as the Red Wolves defeated Orange 6-3. The Sollars sisters, looking to avenge an earlier loss to Mayhew and Cummings, charged out to a 2-0 lead. Mayhew and Cummings won eight of the final ten games to secure the Red Wolves eighth win of the season by a score of 8-4.

Cedar Ridge (8-4, 6-1 in the Central Carolina Conference) remains in second place in the CCC, one game behind Watler Williams. The Red Wolves will face Williams to cap the regular season on October 9.

“We’re just trying to get better,” Mayhew said. “Our regular season isn’t over. We still have matches to play. So we’ll cross that path when we get there. But we’re just trying to get better, improve and just take one match at a time. But I like where we are right now. We’re really improving and getting better. That’s what you want.”

A light drizzle fell as the final match of the night concluded. Cedar Ridge’s Ella Caltabiano and Catherine Ballinger faced Orange’s Makayla Davis and Molly Kruse. Early on, Mayhew objected when he thought an Orange player crossed her racket over the plane of the net, which triggered an immediate protest from the player on a night that had already been chippy. This led to the unusual instance of Mayhew and Orange coach Justin Webb standing on opposite sides of the net to oversee the match. Usually, players act as their own linesmen to call balls in or out. Caltabiano and Ballenger would take the match 8-5 despite trailing early.

Cedar Ridge won four of the six singles matches. That included Mayhew winning at #1 doubles over Erinn Sollars. Mayhew, a senior, has now won 14 matches this season for the Red Wolves, including a 9-2 record in singles.

Cedar Ridge swept the regular season series from Orange for the first time since 2018.

Orange, the defending CCC Champions with Walter Williams, fell to 10-5, 5-4 in the CCC. It was the Lady Panthers third match in three days. On Tuesday, Orange rolled past J.F. Webb 9-0 in Hillsborough. Oakley Gaddy finished with two wins for Orange against the Warriors. Gaddy defeated Samantha Ragland at #6 singles 8-0. Gaddy teamed with Evelyn Gover at #2 doubles to win over Madison Ragland and Michaela Bryant 8-3.

Sophomore Adelyn Alvis also won two matches for Orange against the Warriors. Alvis defeated Bryant 8-0. Alvis teamed with sophomore Nora Plummer at #3 doubles to defeat Savannah Moody and Samantha Ragland 8-0.

Shannon Sollars won at #1 singles over Kallie Goldamez 8-0.


Soccer Notebook: Babchenko scores game-winner to lead Cedar Ridge past Williams; Mil Cruz paces Orange over Patriots

Men’s Soccer: Cedar Ridge 2, Walter Williams 1: What could Cedar Ridge men’s soccer do to top last week?

They defeated the 2021 3A State Champions off a goal from Salomon Hernandez with under five minutes remaining, putting them in first place in the Central Carolina Conference. What could be better?

How about beating the two-time defending conference champions on the road?

At Memorial Stadium in Burlington, the Red Wolves got goals from senior Illah Banchenko and junior Dominic McNerney to defeat Walter Williams 2-1 on Monday night. Cedar Ridge, which has never won a conference championship in men’s soccer, remains in first place in the CCC at 5-0-1.

It was Cedar Ridge’s first win over Williams since the two became conference rivals in 2021. Coming into this season, the Bulldogs had lost just four conference games the past three years.

McNerney notched the opening goal off an assist from Babchenko. Later, Banchenko would score the game-winner in the first half off a free kick.

The Bulldogs scored with two seconds remaining in regulation. Cedar Ridge lost Hernandez, a centerback who captains the back line, with an ankle injury in the second half.

Babchenko has 14 points (three goals and eight assists) to lead the team. McNerney scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season. Sophomore goalkeeper Eric Galunas, who came two seconds away from earning his second straight clean sheet, made nine saves to earn his ninth win.

Northwood 3, Cedar Ridge 1: The Red Wolves five-game unbeaten streak came to an end against Northwood in a nonconfrence matchup on Tuesday night.

The Red Wolves were without Hernandez, which hurt their backline. McNerney scored the Red Wolves only goal with 37:23 remaining in the second half off a penalty kick.

Cedar Ridge (9-2-2) will hit the road to face Person on Monday night in Roxboro. With a win, they will become the first Cedar Ridge team to win ten games in a season since 2016, which was also the last time the Red Wolves reached the 3A State Playoffs.

Orange 0, Walter Williams 0: Orange played to a scoreless tie against the Bulldogs on Tuesday night at Orange Soccer Field. It ended the Bulldogs eight-game winning streak against the Panthers. Orange goalkeeper Finn Kelly made a save in the second overtime to keep the game tied. Orange is 3-5-2 overall, 2-2-1 in the CCC.

Orange 3, Southern Alamance 2: Traveling to Redmon Stadium in Graham, Orange scored the opening goal and held on to defeat the Patriots in its first-ever conference matchup between the Patriots and the Panthers. Daniel Romero, who scored his first goal of the season against Person last week, notched the owner for the Panthers on a marker assisted by senior Emmanuel Mil Cruz. Later, Cruz would add his second goal for Orange, who captured its second straight victory.

In the second half, Mil Cruz scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season off an assist from sophomore Yurem Tapia Mendez to put Orange ahead 2-0. After the Patriots cut Orange’s lead in half after a tally from William Clark, Tapia Mendez scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal. Heinzen Amaya added an additional goal for the Patriots for the final scoreline.

Kelly, Orange’s senior goalkeeper, made 12 saves. one shy of his season-high. In Orange’s CCC opener against Western Alamance on September 6, Kelly finished with 13 saves.

Orange clinched consecutive wins for the first time this season and still stands a fighting chance to make the 3A State playoffs for the second straight year. Currently, the Panthers are ranked #30 in the 3A East RPI rankings as of Wednesday morning following the draw against Williams. The top 32 teams make the state playoffs.

Last year, Orange reached the state playoffs for the first time since 2017, where they lost to J.H. Rose. As fate would have it, if the season ended today, Orange would travel to face Rose in the opening round.