WAXHAW – Something had to give when titans Marvin Ridge and Charlotte Catholic collided in a volleyball showdown Oct. 16.
The hosts entered the match 36-2, ranked No. 2 in the state by Maxpreps.com and winners of their past 10 games. They had also been victorious in 17 of their previous 18, and playing well.
During those 18 matches, in fact, the Mavs had won 47 of the 49 sets they’d played – an astounding number only soiled by a 2-1 loss to North Raleigh Christian way back in early September.
Charlotte Catholic was no slouch either. The teams had been co-league champs last season, but the Cougars began this year just 2-6.
Since, they’ve won 16 straight matches, dominating opponents by winning 48 of the 61 sets played during their most recent run.
But the difference appeared right away as the Mavs jumped to a quick 6-1 lead in front of their large home crowd amped up by senior night festivities.
“Their speed of offense is incredible,” Charlotte Catholic coach Tracy Landschoot said. “They’re explosive, they’re fast and their setter has really fast hands. There are only a couple of kids in our area with hands that fast, and that allows them to come back and move it quickly. They transition so quickly. We haven’t seen that all year.”
Behind senior setter Adriana Jordan, Marvin Ridge dominated the first set, jumping to leads of 12-5, 19-6 and, finally, 25-10.
“We came out with a lot of adrenaline,” Marvin Ridge coach Brook Hammers said. “The seniors came out on senior night with so many emotions, so we had to get them to calm those emotions down. But we came out fired up and ready to go. We did an excellent job of doing that. For me, I’ve had a lot of these girls since they were 11 or 12 and in middle school. So this means a lot to me that they came out fired up and ready.”
Catholic began the second set with 1-0 and 2-1 advantages, but those would be their only leads on the night. After Marvin Ridge regained the advantage at 3-2, the Mavs never looked back winning the second set 25-14.
Sophomore Mac Russ seemed to put away most of the big kills on the night, but senior stars Maggie Young, Madi Graveline, Lexi Thomas and Olivia Headrick joined junior Paige Buttrey in a bombardment of kills many of which Catholic either couldn’t return at all or struggled to possess.
“Having multiple players who are gifted and talented and can put the ball down is absolutely to our advantage,” Hammers said. “(Jordan) is able to get all of these girls the ball, and it keeps the defense on their toes because they don’t know where the ball is always going. That’s definitely nice. Adriana made some sets today that I thought were absolutely exceptional.”
Vanderschoot said the waves of attackers, and speed at which they were coming, had her team off balance at first.
“We haven’t seen that kind of speed all year,” she said. “We knew Marvin was going to be faster than what we’ve ever seen. You could tell it took us until about the third set to lineup with just their speed.”
Senior Purdue University commit Emma Ellis led the Cougars with seven kills and seven digs, but Catholic never really seemed to get going.
In the third set, the Mavs jumped out to leads of 9-6 and 19-12, but a late 8-5 Cougar run got the game to 24-20 before Marvin Ridge closed the door to win improve to a program-best 37-2, run their unbeaten streak to 11 games and see the Mavs winners of 50 of the last 52 sets they’ve played.
“We’re playing good,” Hammers said. “I feel like every day we get in the gym we get even better. And we have our nine seniors that have been with each other so long, so that helps.
“But we played well tonight in all facets and I was proud of their energy.”