The 40th edition of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state volleyball championships is set for Saturday at the Raleigh Convention Center.
For a number of years the championships have been held at Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of North Carolina State University, but that facility is being renovated and is not available this year.
Four championships will be held, starting with the 3-A at noon, then following in order the 4-A, 1-A and 2-A finals.
The opener of the quadruple header gets underway at noon and will send the Blue Comets of Asheboro (25-3) against South Iredell (26-1) for the 3-A crown.
Asheboro is in its fourth trip to the NCHSAA volleyball finals but first visit since 1995. The Blue Comets won the 1994 state crown and beat top-seeded Hillsborough Cedar Ridge in the regional finals on Tuesday night.
South Iredell had to knock off previously unbeaten West Henderson in the Western Regional final and is led by senior Julia Scoles, who is approaching a whopping 500 kills on the season.
In the 4-A match at 2:30, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (19-3) will take on Northwest Guilford (27-3). Gibbons returns to the championship for an amazing 11th consecutive year in three different classifications, with this the first Crusader trip as a 4-A school, and is seeking its seventh straight NCHSAA title. Briley Brind’Amour, who paces Gibbons in kills and is one of six Crusaders slated to play NCAA Division I volleyball, was the MVP of last year’s 3-A final.
Northwest Guilford is a perennially solid program led by veteran coach Darlene Joyner, but is in the finals for the first time. Northwest has won its conference regular season championship an amazing 16 consecutive seasons. The Vikings are led by Piedmont Triad Conference Player of the Year Jocelyn Stoner, who will continue her career at Charlotte.
The 1-A final at 5 pm features defending 1-A champ Princeton (27-1) against Alleghany (25-1). Junior Daisy Eklund leads Princeton by a wide margin in both kills and total blocks. The Bulldogs have made it to the East Regional finals four years in a row, where Princeton beat Roxboro Community School at Roxboro on Tuesday night in four sets.
Alleghany is in the NCHSAA finals for the first time but the Trojans are in their 26th trip into postseason play. Kacey Caudill and Jade Shepherd lead the way for Alleghany, which has reeled off 24 consecutive victories.
South Granville (28-3) takes on relative newcomer Wheatmore (25-1) for the 2-A championship starting at 7:30 pm. South is back in the finals for the third time in four years and is riding a 25-match win streak, including beating Carrboro in the regional final.
Wheatmore has only been open for seven years but makes its second trip to the state finals and has been in postseason play every year, with an 18-6 all-time record in playoff competition. The Warriors have gone unbeaten in conference play for the last five seasons without even losing a set.
Senior Davey Albertson is the first player in Wheatmore history to record 500 blocks and holds the school records for blocks in a match, season and career.
The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, the City of Raleigh and the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau serve as host city sponsors for this event. Time Warner Cable will provide television coverage of these championships, including live TV on the TimeWarner SportsChannel.
THE SCHEDULE– SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2015
40th ANNUAL NCHSAA VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS—RALEIGH CONVENTION CENTER
CLASS AAA – noon
Asheboro High School Blue Comets (25-3) vs. South Iredell High School Vikings (26-1)
CLASS AAAA—2:30 pm
Cardinal Gibbons High School Crusaders (19-3) vs. Northwest Guilford High School Vikings (27-3)
CLASS A – 5 pm
Princeton High School Bulldogs (27-1) vs. Alleghany High School Trojans (25-1)
CLASS AA – 7:30 pm
South Granville High School Vikings (29-3) vs. Wheatmore High School Warriors (25-1)
Event: 40th Annual NCHSAA Volleyball Championships
Date: November 7, 2015
Time: The first championships in the 3-A starting at noon, followed by 4-A at 2:30, 1-A at 5 p.m. and 2-A at 7:30.
Site: Raleigh Convention Center
First Held: 1976
Qualifiers: A total of 64 teams qualified for the playoffs in each of the four classifications, with the winners advancing through the tournament in the single-elimination tournament to the championship matches.
Of Interest: Hendersonville High School has been in the most NCHSAA volleyball state championships, with 14 appearances and 12 state titles.