Asheville – Two Asheville private schools each recently won a 3A state title in women’s athletics. Asheville Christian Academy (ACA) won its 11th volleyball state title all-time, while Asheville School Lady Blues won the tennis team championship.
Lady Blues won the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A state title among larger private schools. They defeated Cape Fear Academy by 5-2, on October 20 at Wingate University. Cape Fear (7-1) was the host school of the state tourney’s last two rounds and was unbeaten before falling to Asheville School.
Lady Blue second seed Annika Jokimies, a junior, won the deciding match in the state title showdown. There are four levels, with 3A behind only 4A for largest schools.
The Lady Blues (10-2) had a bye as West Region top seed. They shut out SouthLake Christian 6-0, then edged East second seed St. David’s School (9-2) by 5-4 on October 27.
Derry Babaoff is head coach, and Miranda Thompson is assistant coach of the Lady Blues.
Singles players in seeding order are Kaylee Kanuka, Jokimies, Gracey Abernethy, Katherine Chay, Selia Morgan, and Helen Miller. Alternates are Cleo Doran, Lucie Bridges, Kennedi Green, Constanza Gonzalez-Gerard, Emma Clay Yorker, and Eugenie Selser.
Doubles partners are Knuka-Jokimes, Abernethy-Chay, and Morgan-Doran.
In the cross country state meet November 2, Lady Blues were third and the Blues squad fourth.
In soccer, the Blues won 2-0 at Carolina Day in a playoff opener. Senior Declan Mettee scored both goals to total 101 career goals. Asheville School then bowed out with a 5-1 loss to Calvary Day School.
‘Kill’ or Be Killed
ACA (11-2) won its volleyball NCISAA 3A crown October 31, Halloween. AC was state champion in 2A in 2017, and now plays in the larger 3A class. The Lady Lions defeated Cary Christian Academy (12-2) by scores of 25-22, 27-25,18-25, 22-25, then 15-13 as the match went the distance.
Asheville won the first two sets. The second one see-sawed. ACA led 14-10, but the Lady Knights led 24-21. The Lady Lions then took charge. They scored six of the final seven points, to triumph 27-25 by the required minimum of two points.
Lady Knights won the next two, to even the match at 2-2.
In the decisive finale, the winner is the first to lead by at least two and reach 15 points. ACA reeled off a 4-1 run to grab a 12-11 lead. The score stayed close. But Asheville still led by a point, at 14-13.
Katie Alexander then scored the championship point. The sophomores led ACA with 50 assists, 20 digs and 6 “kill” smashes.
Avery Jackson contributed 15 kills and 17 digs. She led the team with 141 kills in this season. Riley Shuman registered a team-most 17 kills. She has 107 for the year. Peyton Hightower made 14 kills and 4 blocks, Elizabeth Harrington drilled 11 kills, while Mia Burris added 10 “dig” retrievals. Harrington (34) and Hightower (33) led ACA in blocks this fall.
ACA beat Coastal Christian 3-1 in semifinals. With a mandated quarantine, head coach Tori Render had the team practice remotely through Zoom online in the finals week.
The five seniors are Maggie Bass, Kinsley Broome, Burris, Jackson, Bobbi Ward. Two-thirds of the roster (ten players) are eligible to return, to try to keep ACA on top of the volleyball world.