Arendell Parrott defeats Grace Christian in volleyball quarterfinals
It was three the hard way for Arendell Parrott Saturday.
The Patriots kept their undefeated record intact, defeating Grace Christian 25-22, 25-23, 26-24 Saturday in the NCISAA quarterfinals. For the third straight year, APA (19-0) will be heading to the state semifinals, hosting Cary Christian Tuesday at 6 p.m.
It might not have been the easiest of the Patriots’ 12 straight set matches in 2018, but Coach David Barnes said it should be beneficial to the team for the remainder of the playoffs.
“When games are tight, stress levels are to the maximum in a game,” Barnes said. “Games like this give experience to our players in close situations and hopefully this will pay off in Tuesday’s game and possibly next week’s (state championship).”
The Eagles (12-10) lost to the Patriots twice in the regular season, but scored the game’s first three points, highlighted by a Megan Boutwell service ace and Kaeli Braswell kill. APA picked up the next three in a set with 11 ties and five lead changes, eventually taking a 17-14 lead. The Eagles went back up 18-17, but Alli Grant Avery’s kill started a 6-1 run to give the Patriots an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.
APA went up 4-2 in the second set on a Virginia Edmondson ace, but couldn’t get much separation, never going up by more than four. Grace Christian would use a 6-1 run, with Boutwell’s tip putting the Eagles ahead 19-18, but APA had a 5-1 spurt keyed by Gabby Carriere’s service ace and a kill to take over. Avery’s emphatic kill would gave the Patriots the 2-0 lead in sets.
The third set seemed to be in APA’s favor early with Avery’s ace putting the Patriots ahead 6-3, but the Eagles would change the dynamic and eventually took their biggest advantage at 17-13. Parrott would tie the score at 19 on Edmondson’s ace and after the teams traded the next six points, Mackenzie Pope’s kill gave the Patriots the lead at 23-22. The teams would trade the next four points and APA clinched the match on Edmondson’s block.
“I just went up and tried to tip it where (Grace Christian) wasn’t,” Edmondson said. “I thought (teammate) Sarah Bailey and I were going to crash into each other, but we were able to communicate well and I’m thankful to make the play.”
For the second straight year, the Patriots will go into the NCISAA semifinals undefeated and Avery said this contest was truly helpful.
“We knew in past years we’ve crumbled a bit under pressure,” Avery said. “We’ve learned how to work with that and we’ve looked out for each other on the court. We’re excited to be back to the semifinals and hopefully we can win that game, then the state championship next week.”