It would have been impossible to tell that the top player for Middle Creek was currently overseas. This was especially evident on Saturday night during the state championship game, as her team performed exceptionally well.
One might assume that there would be a decrease in performance. It would be expected that there would be difficulties. It is unrealistic to expect them to achieve what no previous Middle Creek team has accomplished without their Team USA player.
However, your assumption would be incorrect.
Middle Creek solidified its position as the top team in the state, with a strong emphasis on the concept of “team”, by securing a 3-0 victory (25-15, 25-19, 25-17) against Cox Mill in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A volleyball championship at Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday. This marks the program’s first volleyball championship win.
Sally Perez, a senior at Middle Creek High School, had an impressive record of 5.5 kills per match (479 total) and a 48.6% kill percentage. She was also part of the USA Volleyball National Team Development Program and was currently in Taiwan. Despite missing a key player, who was both a first-team all-state pick and committed to UCLA for beach volleyball, the Mustangs still managed to perform well in their first game and win the match.
“We were aware that by remaining united and placing emphasis on basic skills, we could compete equally,” stated coach Jodi Scoggins. “While I am disappointed that the season has come to an end, I am proud of our team for giving their all until the very end.”
Middle Creek took control right from the beginning, except for a brief exchange in the second set which they ended up winning 25-19 following a 25-15 victory in the first set. The third set was also uneventful, as the Mustangs secured a 25-17 win.
In the past five years, the Mustangs have become the third team from the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference to claim victory in volleyball. They are also the ninth consecutive 4A champion from Wake County, as the 4A West has not won the title since 2012 when Ardrey Kell overtook Leesville Road.
Cox Mill High School, ranked third in the 4A West division, received strong hits from junior Ryan Hunter, who has committed to Nebraska, as well as seniors Arielle Walker and sophomore Jordan Gray. The team’s previous three defeats were against Marvin Ridge (which they later defeated in the fourth round of playoffs), Green Level, and Ardrey Kell.
The Chargers had previously made it to the championship three times, winning in 2016 and coming in second place in 2020.
The team experienced both successes and setbacks this year, one of which was a change in coaching about five weeks ago. Ralph Viegelmann, who had previously coached the Cox Mill finalists, returned to coach the team for the final weeks of the regular season.
Viegelmann predicts that Cox Mill will have a successful season next year. They congratulated the girls for their performance, as it was a season filled with ups and downs and they had to adjust to various changes during the course of the season.
The 4A East’s number one seed, Middle Creek (26-1), continued their successful streak with the help of senior setter Avery Scoggins. Scoggins, who has committed to Arizona, was named MVP of the game and effectively distributed the ball to her teammates Avery Booker, Josie Zynczak, and Natalie Spence, keeping the Chargers on their toes.
Avery Scoggins stated, “Our primary objective was to play selflessly, and I believe we achieved that tonight.”
The only defeat that Middle Creek had prior to this match was against Green Hope on August 29th. However, they were able to get revenge in a later game and once again in the East regional final.
This was the Mustangs’ first time competing in the championship.
Prior to the competition, a representative from each team received NCHSAA sportsmanship awards. Booker was chosen for Middle Creek, while Hunter was selected for Cox Mill.