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Rose vs. Conley spikes expectations

TUES. | 11-02-21 | SPORTS

     2,196 days. That is how long that it has been since Rose has beaten Conley in volleyball. The losing streak was broken by the Rampants on Oct. 5, 2021 at Rose in a five-set intense game between the two teams. 

     The last time Rose beat Conley was in 2015, and it happened during both of the conference games when the teams met at the net on Sept. 3 2015 and Sept. 29 2015. The coach of this team was Norman Cabacar and the captains were Taylor Britt and Maggie Hallow. This year, Rose’s new coach Ginny Howard and captains Sloan Carlson and Anna Bayes managed to lead the team to victory and break the losing streak. 

     Additionally, the games on Sept. 3 2015 


and Oct. 5 2021 looked very similar. All sets were tight and had super close scores except for the fourth set in both games as the scores were 25-13 and 25-15, both results of a Conley win. In both of the games, the only other set that Rose lost was the second, therefore winning the first, third and fifth sets. The score was even the exact same in the fifth set, being 15-13 and belonging to Rose. Conley also took Rose above a regular 25-point game in the first set of both games and then not again for the rest of the game.

As this season came to an end, Rose met up with Conley again in the Conference Championship on Oct. 19 2021. Conley was crowned champions as their playing in this game proved them to be the best team in the Big East 3A/4A Conference. 

     Game three was hosted at Conley, and similar to the first Rose vs Conley matchup this season, Conley won in straight sets. Each set was close with Conley winning 25-22, 25-21, and 25-23. With this win Conley finished their season with a record of 21-2 overall and with the loss Rose came in at 20-3. Unlike last year, there is no possibility of a rematch in the state playoffs where two teams met in the Eastern Region Finals. Now that Conley has moved into being a class 4A they will play in a different state tournament than Rose in all sports. This will make the path to a state title a bit easier than years past, but multiple obstacles may stand in their way.

     A few weeks ago, Rose lost one of their key players Forbes Hall for the season. While playing in a playoff tune-up scrimmage tournament the junior outside hitter and defensive specialist (DS) sprained her ankle after landing on a teammate's foot. Hall is a nightmare to Rose opponents as she is one of the best hitters on the team and incredibly agile on defense. Just for context, Hall is both committed to Louisiana State University and ranked nationally in beach volleyball.

     Due to her absence, Rose had to make some adjustments to their line-up leading to sophomore Madison Mirra being moved up from JV to start at libero in the first round of the conference tournament and at DS against Conley. Along with Hall being out against New Bern, junior libero and Eastern Kentucky University beach commit Riley Cutler was out due to a COVID-19 exposure. Mirra stepped up and played out of her mind, possibly leading to her getting the start against Conley at DS when Cutler returned as libero. With playoffs looming, Mirra and the rest of the team will continue to have to step up and fight through tough games.

     As in the games against Conley there will be times in the playoffs where weaknesses are exploited but it will be up to the players and coach Ginny Howard to weather the storm. In the games against Conley, height was a major difference maker as three of Conley’s starters are around six feet tall compared to Rose’s none. This seems to create an advantage for opponents with a strong and tall front row, especially when they gain the momentum.             Rose should be able to combat this both through adjustments and experience. Another factor that will go both ways in effecting the team will be the crowd and student sections. Depending on where Rose is seeded they may get to play the first couple of rounds at home where the Rowdy Rampants will be in full effect. Vice versa with away games if another school has a crowd like Rose, it can make momentum much easier to lose.

Seeding will be released Friday Oct. 22 and the first round will begin Saturday the 23. Rose is currently ranked second among 3A East teams only behind Cedar Ridge High School out of Hillsborough. 

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