RALEIGH, N.C. – In a hyper-competitive match between two schools making their first appearance in an NCHSAA Volleyball State Championship Match, it was the team that dropped the opening set that came out on top. The Green Hope Falcons battled back after dropping the first set to Reagan 25-18.
The Falcons trailed the Raiders by as many as nine in the opening frame before battling back to within two at 18-16. Reagan took control of the opening set after that brief Green Hope rally, but the the Falcons turned the early momentum and built some confidence in that rally.
That confidence building rally gave way to a seesaw second set that saw numerous ties and lead changes throughout. The two teams were tied at 19, 20 and 21 in the second set before the Falcons took three straight service points and then the set 25-22.
Another nip-and-tuck set went the way of Green Hope in the third set as the Falcons stretched the lead out to 20-15 off of a Sydney Dowler spike. The Falcons managed to hang on to a five-point lead to close out the set 25-20. Green Hope then battled past the Raiders 25-17 in the fourth set, closing out the match and handing the Falcons their first State Championship in volleyball.
Green Hope freshman setter Sydney Dowler had 32 assists on the day, adding three blocks and 5 kills to go with three service aces on her way to match M.V.P. honors. Her older sister, Kayla Dowler, added 12 kills and an ace. The Falcons finished the season 28-1 despite only having three seniors on the roster.
Reagan finished the year at 30-3, and advancing to the school’s first state championship appearance. The Raiders were led by Hunter Beem who amassed 13 kills with just two errors. Jenna Robbins addend 11 kills and Bailey Hatchett chipped in 10 kills.