CARY — Holly Springs volleyball went from a team that had lost four of its first seven games to one that has won nine of the last 10.
The turnaround began with the program’s first-ever win against Green Hope on Sept. 12 and continued into the Golden Hawks’ sweep of Panther Creek (25-18, 25-14, 25-22) on Thursday night, Oct. 10.
During that time, Holly Springs (12-5, 9-4) went from sixth in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference to tied for second with one game left.
“It’s crazy. It feels like we’ve accomplished so much in a matter of weeks,” senior Mackenzie Reaves said.
But the Hawks, ranked 11th in The News & Observer area, will tell you that there was no switch that flipped or magic light that came on. Their fortune turned for the better as the young sophomores and experienced juniors and one senior began to mesh. The process was gradual.
“At the beginning of the season we definitely had a struggle trying to get used to all the new players. We have a really young team,” Reaves said. “About halfway through (the conference schedule), we had played everybody. We had seen what other teams did and how other teams had their chemistry and we just started to get our flow and figured out how we need to play together.”
Putting up numbers: Holly Springs middle blocker Kaelyn Dyson, a Gardner-Webb recruit, had nine kills and five blocks.
“She’s really smart where she puts the ball,” said first-year coach Emily Rice. “We always go to her, and everything seems so effortless for her.”
Reaves had 12 kills.
For Panther Creek, junior Stephanie Jewett had eight kills, and senior Katherine Kruse had seven.
Feeling the impact: Panther Creek’s loss puts the Catamounts (7-9, 5-8) on the bubble to make the 4A playoffs. There are four 4A East wild-card spots given to teams with the best overall winning percentage, and the first threelook secure for Lumberton (12-7), Winterville South Central (10-6) and then either East Wake or Enloe – each are 8-10.
The Catamounts’ final opponent is the team that will likely be battling for that final spot – Green Hope (8-11). The winner of that game will have the higher overall winning percentage and higher than that of East Wake and Enloe, while the loser will have one that is lower than those two teams who have each concluded their regular seasons. There is, of course, the possibility that another team with an even better win-loss record has not fully updated its Maxpreps.com listing.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps