At Middle Creek, now is the time for everything.
On Tuesday night, (1) Middle Creek made history by defeating (11) Green Hope in four sets at home and securing a spot in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A volleyball state championship. The scores were 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-17 in favor of Middle Creek.
It is not surprising to see the top-ranked team in the playoffs make it to the state championship, but Middle Creek had to consistently demonstrate its worth to reach that point.
The Mustangs were crowned champions of the Southwest Wake 4A Conference after a strong regular season, with only one loss to the Green Hope team, who they later beat in the regional championship.
During the playoffs, Middle Creek competed against teams with a longer history in the volleyball playoffs compared to their own.
In the third round, Middle Creek emerged victorious over Cardinal Gibbons, who has a record of 11 state championships out of 12 attempts, with their most recent win in 2020. Moving on to the fourth round, they faced conference rival Green Level, the reigning state champions from 2021. This brought them to the regional final against Green Hope, a team with a perfect 4-0 record in state championships.
The Mustangs gained an early advantage against Green Hope, securing the first two sets with scores of 25-18 and 25-17.
Despite being tied at 13-13 in the third set, Green Hope managed to keep the match going. They took a lead of 17-14 and prompted Middle Creek to call a timeout. Although the set was briefly tied at 19-19, Green Hope went on a streak and ultimately won 25-22, leading to a fourth set.
Green Hope picked up where they left off in the fourth set. They quickly took a 4-1 lead, but Middle Creek was able to turn things around and went up 6-5. This sparked an 8-1 run for Middle Creek, leading to Green Hope calling a timeout.
However, the timeout was not effective as Middle Creek continued to score, eventually taking a 19-10 lead before Green Hope called for another timeout. A service error from the Falcons was the deciding point that advanced the Mustangs to the state championship game.
Middle Creek will compete against Cox Mill in the 4A state championship at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh this Saturday. The NCHSAA will announce the start time on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Cox Mill defeated Reagan, who was previously unbeaten, in the western regional championship. The match was won in four sets.