Green Hope downs Reagan, 3-1, to claim 4A volleyball state title
Posted November 5, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Green Hope defeated Ronald Reagan High School in four sets Saturday evening at Reynolds Coliseum to claim its first N.C High School Athletic Association 4A state volleyball championship.
The Falcons dropped the first set of the matchto Reagan, but Green Hope rallied to win the next three for a 3-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-17) victory.
Reagan jumped on the Falcons early on in the first set, taking 10 of the first 13 points.
The Raiders led by as many as six points in the first frame but allowed Green Hope to rally back within two points late in the set. However, after the Falcons scored five-straight points to make it at 19-17 game, the Raiders answered with a 7-1 run to end the set.
“We have a habit of being a little bit slow in our startup, so I wasn’t necessarily worried,” said Green Hope head coach Karl Redelfs. “We did the same thing with [D.H.] Conley; we dropped that first set close, and then we just came back and we fought.”
Both teams battled in a tight second set that witnessed 16 instances of ties throughout the back-and-forth contest.
Green Hope went on a 4-1 run late in the set – with the teams tied at 21-all – to claim it’s first set of the night.
Much like in the second set, the third set between Green Hope and Reagan featured a tick-for-tat start, but the Falcons once again pulled away late.
After an 11-all tie, Green Hope mounted an 14-9 run to clinch its second-consecutive set win and first lead in the match, 2-1, in the contest.
“We’re a great fighting team. Everybody on this team wants to win,” Redelfs said. “We’re competitors and understand that some things necessarily wont’ go our way.
“As long as we keep grinding and keep fighting, we’ll come out ahead.”
Green Hope completed its magical season with a 25-17 victory over Reagan in the fourth set, using a 14-6 run to close it out after being knotted 11-11 with the Raiders.
Claiming the school’s first state championship has been discussed since the Falcons’ first practice, according to freshman setter Sydney Dowler.
“Volleyball’s never had a state championship, and we looked up there and said, ‘Yep we, want to put a banner on that wall,’” she said.
Dowler, who was named the most valuable player, finished with five kills, three blocks, 32 assists and seven digs.
Kayla Dowler – Sydney’s sister – tallied a team-high 12 kills and added 15 digs.
Green Hope will lose three players to graduation this season, but the team will return eight rising seniors.
Redelfs said the experience from the title game, and what remains on the roster, should give the team a chance to defend its title next season.
“Just seeing that match, and winning it, just shows them how much potential they have,” Redelfs said. “You can look at the roster and see that. We start two sophomores, two freshman and two juniors. I mean, repeat?”
Green Hope finishes its 2016 title run with a 28-1 (15-1, SWAC) record, with the team’s only loss coming against rival Panther Creek in a five-set match.
The No. 1 ranked Eagles defeated South Central, Wakefield, Hoggard, Person and D.H. Conley en route to its first appearance in the 4A state championship game.
Reagan concludes its season with a 30-2 (11-1, Central Piedmont) record. The Raiders bested South Caldwell, Charlotte Catholic, T.C. Roberson, Northwest Guilford and Watuga to face off against Green Hope in the final.