Needing just one win to prolong its season, Albemarle picked up just that in short and sweet fashion with a 3-0 sweep of Orange County in the Conference 16 semifinals to qualify for the Region 5A North tournament, 25-8, 25-6, 25-11.
“It’s that time of the year and you’re playing and everything counts so it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net, you still have to do all the things you’re supposed to,” said Patriots coach Mark Ragland. “We were trying to fine tune for the rest of the season and now we know we get to play at least two more matches.”
As strong as Albemarle was in the first set, it was even better in the second. The Patriots started out with an 8-3 advantage and they won 17 of the next 20 points to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Up comfortably in the third, Ragland was able to rotate in his bench players and while Orange got to within six at 16-10, the Patriots finished the job on an a 9-1 run.
“(Getting players off the bench) was really good and we actually got a chance to pull up a couple of JV kids, Ragland said. “You don’t always get that opportunity so that was cool to have everyone participate.”
Cindy Yu had four of Albemarles 16 aces and finished with 13 service points. Alexis Duday had nine kills while Paige Hanssen added five. Ellie Benning finished with 14 assists.
Albemarle advances to the C16 championship on Thursday.