BYH to people who bash teachers. You literally would not last one class period at my school. I get cussed at, chairs...

KEATOR: Marvin Ridge speed sinks Vikings' ship

1 of 2

Marvin Ridge's Mac Russ goes up for a kill between D.H. Conley defenders Elana Fuller, left, and Macy Smith during the 3-A state championship match in Reynolds Coliseum at N.C. State.

Keator Mugshot

By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, November 4, 2018


I saw something new Saturday night at Reynolds Coliseum. D.H Conley’s volleyball team was trailing.

The Vikings may have surrendered a few points here and there in the beginning of a first set during the regular season, of course, but to be as deep as 20 points into a set and still see the Vikings behind was a wake-up call. They dropped Game 1 to Marvin Ridge, 25-22, in the 3-A state championship after previously losing only seven total sets for a 26-0 match record.

Especially in a state title game, neither team can really prepare for what the other may bring to the table.

Will it be speed, length, power? It’s tough to guess because the two sides come from opposite ends of the state, and when one side brings the entire package, it can be hard to overcome.

That’s exactly what West Region and state champion Marvin Ridge did when it faced the Vikings. The Mavericks had an unbelievable duo of middle hitters in Maggie Young and match MVP Mac Russ. Conley coach Jennifer Gillikin admitted that Marvin Ridge’s pace of play was a problem for her squad, despite DHC being one of the best defensive teams in the state.

The speed of the Mavericks’ attacks really showed late in Game 2 and early in the third and final set of a 25-22, 25-8, 25-16 sweep. 

It was certainly a lot to overcome, with outside hitter Lexi Thomas putting her sets right in line for Young and Russ to slam home kills, the Vikings needed to make adjustments on the fly. They did, and there seemed to be a change in the play style as they shifted to slowing down the pace to compensate for the speed at which they were receiving the ball.

The adjustments did prove useful in the final set. After a 25-8 lopsided second set, Conley was slightly more composed in Game 3 with Macy Smith and Olivia Lefever working to set up Elana Fuller and Hannah Shafer.

But Marvin Ridge (44-2) won a state-record 44 matches for its first state title. Conley finished 26-1. The number of matches made a difference.

“I think that playing so many games this year against so many teams with different types of weapons made us more prepared going into this,” Russ said on her team’s season.

While it didn’t end in a state championship, the Vikings should be proud of all they achieved.

An undefeated run through the East Region, another 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference title and bragging rights over their fiercest rivals are all notable accomplishments. Gillikin also won’t have to worry too much about the future of her Vikings, despite losing seven seniors including Shafer, Fuller and Smith, with names such as Lefever (only a sophomore) and Alexis Desoto set to return next year.

“Im proud of these seniors and everything they’ve done for our team,” Gillikin said. “I’m also excited about the girls we have coming back. This program will be strong for years to come.”

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

May 23, 2019

After falling in Game One of the 3-A East Regional baseball finals Tuesday, No. 2 D.H. Conley rebounded on Thursday, defeating No. 1 New Hanover 10-0 in six innings to force a winner-take-all Game Three Saturday.

UNC Greensboro commit Robbie O’Neal threw a gem, tossing his first complete game…


May 23, 2019

As the current school year nears its conclusion, athletes from around the county are finalizing their choices to continue their academic and athletic careers at the college level.

Following is a summary of recent local signings:

Ayden-Grifton quartet signs

Four Ayden-Grifton standouts signed this…


May 23, 2019

Ayden-Grifton senior Mason Ross wrapped up a successful career for the Chargers this season. As a state qualifier in wrestling and the A-G everyday shortstop in baseball, Ross committed to continue his baseball career at Methodist University last Thursday. Preps beat writer Jake Keator spoke with…

052319-Mason Ross

May 23, 2019

D.H. Conley’s baseball and softball teams both fell into a 1-0 hole Tuesday night in the beginning of their respective 3-A East Regional Finals three-game series.

Both teams must fend off elimination in Game Two tonight in hopes of forcing a decisive third game. The winner of the series moves…


May 21, 2019

Just four days after advancing to the 3-A East Regional finals thanks to a 3-2 walk-off win over Southern Alamance, the top seeded D.H. Conley softball team found itself on the opposite end of the same score after eight innings Tuesday against No. 2 Eastern Alamance.

The Conley loss gave the Eagles…


May 21, 2019

The 2018-19 season couldn’t have gone any better for South Central senior Shykeim Phillips.

He helped lead a dominant Falcons squad to the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A conference regular season and tournament championship. In addition to that, they completed one of the great state tournament runs…


May 21, 2019

The final four has arrived for spring high school baseball and softball, with both sports on the brink of determining representatives for the state championships, meaning this week’s regional series will provide the biggest moments this season.

Only one area school, D.H. Conley, remains in…


May 17, 2019

The South Central softball team couldn’t catch a break Friday night in Winterville, and Hoggard took advantage, ending the Falcons season with a 5-0 loss.

The Vikings advanced to the 4-A East Regional championship with a 5-0 road win over the Falcons on Friday night. They’ll begin the…


May 17, 2019

Another busy night at Hollywood Crossroads Friday resulted in the Vikings baseball and softball teams advancing to the 3-A East Regional Finals, which begin Tuesday. 

The second-seeded baseball team topped three-seed Fike, 9-5.

Led by UNC-Greensboro commit Robbie O’Neal on the mound, DHC…


May 17, 2019

Christ Covenant School capped off a highly successful boys’ golf season by winning the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A state championship earlier this week at Whispering Pines Golf Club.

After finishing second in its conference, Christ Covenant was led by all-…

051819-Christ Covenant School Golf
135 stories in High Schools. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 14
        Next Page»   Last Page»