volleyball state champ
RAMPANTS BRING HOME THE RING
BY WILL YOUNG & MAX VANCOUTREN NOVEMBER 25, 2014
It has been five years since the Rose volleyball team brought home a state championship, but this year’s team did not keep fans waiting any longer. On Nov. 1, 2014, the Rose volleyball team defeated Providence High School at Reynolds Coliseum to finish their season with the highest honor: state champions.
“Shock was my first reaction, and it still hasn’t set in as much as it has for the players,” head coach Norman Cabacar said.
Before Rose could even think about the state title, they had to get to the championship game first. Their toughest challenge of getting to the championship game was playing the number one seed in the eastern district, Broughton, in the semi-finals. The grueling match went to five sets, but Rose came out victorious.
“The Broughton game was good for us because it was a pressured environment and to come out of there with a five set win really prepared us for the state championship,” Cabacar said.
The championship against Providence was the biggest game of the season, but Cabacar knew that his team could handle the pressure. Before the game Cabacar told the team to do what they’ve been doing all year. He was confident that if they did, they would be state champions.
Rose came out strong and won the first set 25-14 to give the Rampants the lead. However, Providence High School stormed back and won the second set 25-16 to tie the game 1-1.
“We beat ourselves that set so we decided what we needed to do differently and we fixed it,” Kuhn said.
After a comeback from Providence, Rose regrouped and played much better in the third set.
“The third set was the deciding set for us because we rebounded from the second set loss and showed we were the better team,” Hallow said.
After Rose won the third set 25-17 to give them a 2-1 lead, they did not let Providence push the game to five sets. They won 25-16 in the fourth set to defeat Providence and become the 2014 4A Volleyball State Champions.
“I fell to my knees and everyone jumped on top of me and I thought, ‘Wow we finally did it,’” Hallow said.
The Rowdie Rampants had been a strong presence during the third and fourth round playoff games against East Chapel Hill and Broughton, but the championship game brought the biggest crowd of students as well as an even larger amount of supporting parents.
“I personally play better when the Rowdie Rampants are there. I think it really really helps out to have all that support,” Kuhn said.
The support did not stop at Reynolds Coliseum, though. Love and praise followed Rose back to Greenville. When the team got home, they were asked to be a part of many events around Greenville. They were celebrated at Rose football’s senior night, participated in the Veterans Day Parade and were recognized by the mayor at a city council meeting.
“It’s really touching to see how the city has embraced it, and all these people I have never met congratulated me,” Hallow said.
The 2014 volleyball team will forever be apart of Rose history. They battled through injuries, won a conference championship, fought hard through the playoffs and won the state championship.
“It feels really good knowing we can represent our school and have our picture in the hallway for everyone to look at and look up to,” Kuhn said.
The team knew at the beginning of the season that they had the potential to go far in playoffs and win the championship.
“The girls had grown from last year,” Cabacar said. “I felt confident that if we worked hard in practice and we played together as a team that we would have an opportunity to be there.”
While Rose volleyball is usually a dominant team in North Carolina, the experience and talent of this year’s team was at a higher level than previous years.
“There was a different feel in the air this year,” Hallow said. “This year everyone that was playing was 100% competitive.”
Only one team can win the state championship, and this year it was our very own Rampants.
“Not everybody has the opportunity to experience this and they will cherish it for the rest of their lives,” Cabacar said.