Arendell Parrott caps off second straight undefeated regular season
It's been a while since the Arendell Parrott Academy volleyball squad has dropped a regular-season match.
For the second consecutive year, the Patriots capped a perfect campaign heading into the playoffs, defeating Wilmington Christian 25-14, 25-12, 25-21. In an all-Patriots nonconference showdown, APA (18-0) closed out the regular season in style.
Parrott hasn't lost a non-playoff game since Sept. 13, 2016, pushing its streak to 49 in the process. APA coach David Barnes said he’s been amazed how well the team has continued to play despite losing Hannah Scott Avery and Scarlet Combs to graduation from last year’s state runner-up team.
“I knew we would still be good, but I wasn’t thinking 18-0, being the No. 1 team in our conference and in the state as far as private schools — No. 13 overall,” Barnes said. “I’ve been calling this team the ‘Cardiac Kids’ because you don’t know what you’ll get at times, especially with some of our five-set games, but that’s this group and I’ve been proud of what they’ve done.”
Wilmington Christian (10-6) scored the game’s first five points, highlighted by a Payton Giddings service ace and Cassie Taylor kill, but APA fought back, taking the lead for good on an Alli Grant Avery ace at 9-8. Kyra Rickard’s kill tied the first set at 11 for Wilmington Christian, but Parrott went on an 11-1 run to coast.
The teams split the first six points of the second set before APA went on an 8-0 run, highlighted by three Virginia Edmondson service aces and two Avery kills, to take control and eventually pick up another easy set win. Parrott kept momentum in the third set, taking a 9-2 lead and while Wilmington Christian eventually surged late, going on a 9-1 run to get within 24-21, it was too late.
APA’s Mackenzie Pope said keeping the streak going this year has been unbelievable.
“It’s huge because we lost two great players, but have been able to keep our confidence,” Pope said. “We just have to keep it going and hopefully we can do the same thing in the playoffs.”
Avery said some team goals have been met, but now the focus shifts toward other ones.
“We weren’t thinking about going undefeated — we wanted to win our conference and make it to the playoffs,” Avery said. “It feels amazing to be able to go in as a top seed. It means our hard work has been paying off, and hopefully we can make it back to the big game and win it.”