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Rose volleyball sets scene for success

MON. | 11-22-21 | SPORTS

     The Rose volleyball 2021 season came to a close last week when Rose was eliminated by Cedar Ridge in the Eastern Region Finals on Nov. 2. The game was played at Cedar Ridge as they were the higher seed between the two teams. This was their second meeting of the year and it was Rose’s second defeat at the hands of Cedar Ridge. Rose was able to finish the season 24-4 and as runner-up in both the Big East 3A/4A

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Photo contributed by Madison Mirra

Conference and the Eastern Region of the state.

     The team made a great playoff run as the number two seed in the east. They first defeated 31 seed Seventy-First, then 15 seed Scotland, followed by seven seed Carrboro. In the fourth round and what was Rose’s final home game of the year Rose dropped their first set of the tournament but still easily defeated 11 seed, Person, 3-1. This postseason success should not have been a surprise to anyone as prior to their postseason run the team had a groundbreaking regular season.

     “The season was pretty successful as we beat Conley for the first time in seven years and made it to the state semifinals,” senior right side and middle hitter Sydney Boyer said. “Beating Conley was the highlight of my Rose career.”

     Boyer played varsity volleyball for all of her four years at Rose and left an impact on the program on and off the court.

     “I feel like I did a good job bringing the team together, especially when we were down,” Boyer said.

     That meant a little bit more this year as the team went through a lot to only lose four games all year. Starting with a culture shift at the beginning of the year as Kelley Krainiack stepped away from Rose and former player, and then assistant coach, Ginny Howard stepped into the head coaching position. Howard and the team had big goals for the season and they believed they could achieve them with their star-studded roster and strong leadership.

     The core of the team consisted of the experienced Boyer and her fellow senior and team captain Sloan Carlson. In addition to these two, below them grade-wise are four collegiate level beach volleyball players who decided to represent their school on the indoor court in addition to in the sand. Amelia Taft, Anna Bayes, Forbes Hall, and Riley Cutler have all committed to play beach volleyball at the next level. Behind them are sophomores Emily Smith and Shea Jenkins, who both played significant time during their freshman year allowing them to be more comfortable in the big moments this year.

     The team went through a few injury scares throughout the year but their depth was able to keep them alive. Both Carlson and Hall went down in the teams first face-off against Cedar Ridge on Oct. 9 in a tune up for the playoffs. Carlson came away with a  head injury and was only out for a couple days, but Hall was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury. The team persevered and their fanbase rallied around them prior to the playoffs, creating a perfect atmosphere by the time playoffs started.

     The student population was a big part of the Rose crowd, and thanks to some team parents, for both the fourth and fifth rounds all Rose students got in free. Even when Rose travelled to Hillsborough for the eastern region championship, the students followed as athletic director Clay Medlin organized a bus for students to ride to the game. Students traveling like this to support volleyball is new to Rose but will not be going away anytime soon.

     With all the buzz around volleyball at Rose, the team looks to improve next year and has their eyes set on a state championship. This is a big goal, but as the team will lose just three seniors it is completely possible that this time next year headlines will read: Rose Volleyball wins State Championship.

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