Nervous anticipation, intense competition, hours of waiting, giddy excitement, bitter disappointment, team camaraderie, youthful exuberance, thwarted expectations, joyful elation.... all this and more is part of state tournament weekend!...
The Lighthouse Eagles Varsity team, coached by Denise Driver and led by senior co-captains Tiffany Driver and Cheri Van Nice, breezed through matches with the Johnston Co. Jaguars and Fayetteville Crusaders without losing a set, to advance to Saturday morning's semi-finals. They easily handled the #2 team in the Western Conference, the Forsyth Hawks, with strong serving and hitting by Tiffany Driver, Michelle Hovey, Amanda Herbert, Wilson Storey, and Michayla Bowers, to advance to the championship game against Western Conference powerhouse Asheville Trailblazers. The Asheville team, who had defeated the Eagles in last year's state championship game, were also undefeated in conference play and were out to secure a sweep for their 3 teams and to repeat as NC homeschool varsity volleyball champs A packed gym added to the excitement as fans, family, and friends loudly lent their support to their teams. As play began, it was soon apparent that these teams were evenly matched and it wasn't going to be an easy task for either one to take home the trophy. Lighthouse played tough and won the first set, 25-21, before faltering in set 2 to lose 17-25, and then falling behind again in set 3 to lose 22-25.
In set 4, the momentum shifted to the Lighthouse team, who battled to a 25-23 win with gutsy setting and serving by 13 yr. old Kimberly Hovey, who also led her team in digs, as well as strong play by her sister Michelle, who led in kills, pushing the match to a 5th set, the 15-point tie-breaker. Lighthouse jumped to an early lead and pushed hard to victory, with blistering serves by senior Amanda Herbert finishing off the set for a 15-9 win. The Lighthouse Eagles are the 2010 NCHEAC Varsity Volleyball Champions!