CHARLOTTE – Ardrey Kell caught fire in the playoffs and advanced all the way to the state championship match, but the magic ran out in a 3-1 loss to now four-time defending state champion Green Hope.
The Knights had reached the final after beating Davie 3-1 in the opening round.
In the second round, and after being swept during the regular season by rival Providence, the Knights got the last laugh, shutting the Panthers out to advance.
They then defeated West Forsyth 3-0 and upset Northwest Guilford 3-1 in the West regional final.
In the opening set, Green Hope overmatched the Knights with a 25-13 win for the early advantage.
The Falcons took the second set as well, pulling away for a 25-16 win.
Green Hope got up 18-15 in the third set, but the Knights rattled off seven of the next 11 points to tie the score at 22. Ardrey Kell would eventually get the match to 2-1 with the 25-23 win.
The Knights held their last lead at 11-10 in the fourth set, but a 6-2 run would lead to the Falcons 25-20 match-clinching win in the fourth set.
Talented sophomore Alexis Shelton led the Knights attack with 15 kills, 10 digs and four blocks. Senior Sania McCoy added 10 kills, Samantha Stanley had a team-high six blocks, freshman Giovana Salinas added a team-high 11 digs while Mya Duggan finished with 30 assists.
Green Hope was led by Sydney Dowler, who won her unprecedented fourth consecutive championship game MVP after posting 43 assists, five blocks, two kills and a pair of aces.
Green Hope finished the year 27-2, and ranked in multiple national polls.
The four consecutive titles makes Green Hope the second school to accomplish the feat in NCHSAA history.
The Knights finished 25-6, but have a lot to build on after their third regional title and first title appearance since they won it all in 2012.