Rose takes down unbeaten Broughton for championship bid

Posted October 28, 2014

Caroline Kuhn (14) of Rose High School at the net. Rose High School faces Broughton High School in the NCHSAA 4A Volleyball Semi Finals on October 28, 2014. Rose needed 5 games to defeat the Caps, winning 3 sets to 2 and advancing to the State Championship. (Chris Baird / WRAL Contributor).

— The Broughton Capitals' undefeated volleyball season came to a difficult finish Tuesday night as the team fell to the Rose Rampants in a thrilling 4-A eastern regional title match.

The No. 2 Rampants traveled to Raleigh and defeated the top-seeded Capitals in five sets (11-25, 26-24, 26-24, 22-25, 15-11) to win the 4-A East and advance to their first N.C. High School Athletic Association state championship since 2009. Broughton Rose Volleyball: J.H. Rose vs. Broughton (Oct. 28, 2014)

"[The Rampants] have got a really good team," said Broughton Head Coach Jim Freeman. "They've got a lot of weapons. I admire them and I respect the heck out of what they just did."

Rose, which won the 4-A state championship in 2008 and 2009, will face No. 2 Providence in the championship match Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh. Providence defeated Myers Park in straight sets Tuesday night to win the 4-A West.

The Rampants' postseason path has taken them through nothing but Triangle-area teams. The team defeated Millbrook, Middle Creek, Heritage and East Chapel Hill in the postseason prior to the fifth round.

"The teams around the Raleigh area--they're seeding didn't do them justice," said Rose Head Coach Norman Cabacar. "They were a lot stronger than what they were seeded. It was a good challenge for us, and it probably helped us to be at home to see teams like that. It gave this group of girls the reps they needed to believe in one another when the pressure is on."

For Cabacar, the pressure was high when facing the Caps. After trading wins in the first two sets, the Capitals and Rampants needed extra time to decide the third. Broughton was well on its way to taking a 2-1 lead late in the set and led 23-17, but Rose went on a 9-1 run to steal away the victory, 26-24.

Broughton bounced back in the fourth behind strong efforts from hitters Katja Ehlers and Adria Johnson. Unforced errors on Rose's side also helped as the Caps evened the match with a 25-22 win.

"We had to regroup after blowing a lead there in the third set," said Freeman. "I was concerned with making sure they went back out there and recommitted to doing their job. It's not easy blowing a lead like that, but they did a great job.

"That's what a regional final should look like: two teams going after it."

In the fifth and final set, Ehlers and Tiana Butler helped the Capitals to a quick 3-1 lead, but Rose fought back to tie the set at 5-5 and again at 8-8. From there, the Rampants ended the match on a 7-3 run to put Broughton away and seal their eastern regional championship.

"I told the girls, 'We have nothing to lose,'" Cabacar said. "'We're the No. 2 seed, they're undefeated and at home defending their court. If we can keep it close, we have enough players that match up well with them that we can come out here with a win.'"

Caroline Kuhn led Rose's offensive attack with 24 kills, while Taylor Britt led the Rampants in assists (24) and Maggie Rees led in digs (17).

For Broughton, Ehlers once again led her team in kills with 23 while Johnson added 13 and Butler had 11. Kati Smith (29) and Ryan Haar (26) led the team in assists while Smith and Genna Simpkins contributed 20 digs apiece.

As they have done throughout the postseason, Broughton eased to a victory in the first set, taking advantage of its home court and a loud playoff atmosphere to win 25-11.

The second set of the match saw 15 different ties--including one at 24-24--before Rose earned the final two points to take its first win 26-24.

"They jumped right on top of us and it rattled us," said Cabacar. "We could not get in any rhythm and they kept us out of our system. The second set was crucial. If we had fallen in the second set, I believe we would not have been able to rebound back."

The Rampants put an end to the Capitals' most successful volleyball season in school history. Broughton did not lose a game in the regular season and made it further into the postseason than any other Capital team before.

"They're not a bunch of physical freaks or anything," Freeman said. "But they play really hard and obviously they don't quit. I told them when it was over that I was proud of them and I loved them, and that's kind of all you can say at that point."

Broughton's volleyball team will lose just four seniors between now and next season.

The game time for Rose's championship match against Providence is undetermined.

Follow Zach Mayo on Twitter at @ZachMayoHSOT


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