Skyland – Reigning league champ T.C. Roberson decisively beat A.C. Reynolds in volleyball last week to stay in first place in the Mountain Athletic Conference.
The score was 25-13, 25-15, 25-11. ACR kept it close early in the opening set, but the Lady Rams turned it on. These arch rivals play again at Reynolds on Thursday, Oct. 12.
A season ago, the Rams were 23-6, won the “The Mountain” at 11-1, and won two playoff matches. So far this fall, they are a perfect 6-0 in the first half of the conference schedule. Further, they shut out each of six MAC foes by 3-0 for amazing dominance. Roberson blanked all league challengers for the entire MAC season two years ago. The Rams are 11-6 overall, heading into a match against North Henderson this past Monday.
They host second-place Enka (11-3; 4-1 MAC) on Oct. 3 and Asheville (4-6; 2-3) on Oct. 5, also at 6 p.m. Enka beat Reynolds 3-1 at home, but lost to Roberson 3-0 at home. Enka promptly clarifies the MAC race. The Sugar Jets play at ACR on Thursday, Sept. 28, in a battle for second place. They are at TCR on Tuesday, Oct. 3. Both matches begin at 6 p.m.
Seasoned, Prolific Rams
The Lady Rams have much height across their lineup with the usual skill, discipline, and precision. Seven of 13 varsity players are seasoned seniors. They are 6-foot Amelia Novak, Zoey Underwood, libero Ashley Marsiglia, Gracie Moore, Halle Eddings, Sarah Allison, and setter Emma Youngblood. Tymber Thompson and Lydia Kampe are the sole grads from the ‘22 Ram squad.
Youngblood is the Ram career assist leader. “Emma leads our offense,” head coach Michelle Wagaman said. “Our seniors know each other” as far as tendencies on the court. Youngblood and two master blasters — junior Karlie Henning and sophomore Carolina Peterson — will be showcased to colleges at a combine in December. They were chosen for that by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Henning is a dynamic-leaping third-year varsity star. She sustained a high ankle sprain on Sept. 15, but might return for playoffs. Henning leads TCR with 201 kills. She is on pace to snap the career kills mark of Mackenzie Lynch, a 2022 TCR grad who stars for Army West Point.
Henning has a .270 hitting percentage, and a strong 40 percent kill ratio. Peterson has 105 kills. Novak has 90 kills, the team’s highest (.350) hitting percentage, and a 43 percent kill rate. “She makes more kills than errors,” Coach Wagaman said.
In Henning’s absence, Wagaman juggled her lineup starting against ACR. Moore moved from defense to up front. The tallest Ram is 6-3 reserve Abigail Brockmeier, a junior from Florida.
Roberson has what is rated as the toughest overall schedule among all 4A West schools. Wagaman scheduled tougher non-conference games, to toughen the Rams for MAC contests and upcoming 4A state playoffs.
She is in her 13th season at the helm at Roberson. She is the (Western) Region 8 recipient of the NCHSAA Homer Thompson Memorial civic award for 2020-21, for those who “make a difference.” She and her students raise money for such charitable causes as ALS research and now the Eblen Charities toy drive.
Reynolds has a new head coach in Kristin Jones. She moves up from Cane Creek Middle School. She succeeds Bonnie Dotson. Rocket co-captains are seniors Kyla Mcclain, Anna Moore, Ryanne Dotson, and Mariah Eberhardt. Anna Stone and Hayley Hooks are among leading Rocket hitters.
Coach Jessica (Banks) Curtis leads scrappy Enka. Her captain is setter Ella Alexander. Junior Aliah Henson and sophomore Sara Thingvoll are also standouts.
Asheville (4-6; 2-3) is now coached by Tracy Landschoot. Virginia Griffith is the sole senior varsity volleyball Cougar. The squad’s three freshmen include 6-foot-1 middle blocker Sienna Weigel.
Leading hitters on North Buncombe (3-12;1-5 MAC) include seniors Peyton Whitson and Kiersten Gosnell, and juniors Caylee Smart and Gracie Edmonds. Whitson, Smart, and senior Reannah Webb are co-captains for Coach Jennifer Corbin‘s Hawks. Sophomore Haley Carter leads Erwin (2-11; 0-6) in hits. Warrior co-captains are senior Mileah Edwards and junior setter Sarah Cavallarin.
In 2A, Owen (8-4; 4-2 WHC) is coached by Nikki Roland, and features freshman slammer Mia Roland.