MOUNT PLEASANT – Two of the county’s most successful volleyball programs in recent years went head-to-head Tuesday night, and the bigger school came out on top, as Class 3A Cox Mill defeated 2A Mount Pleasant in straight sets, 3-0.
Cox Mill has won at least a share of the South Piedmont 3A Conference title for the past five years, including winning the state championship in 2016. Mount Pleasant has been atop the Rocky River 2A Conference for the last six seasons, making some deep playoff runs along the way.
But with an enthusiastic crowd cheering on both teams, Tuesday belonged to the Chargers.
In his first year leading the talented bunch, Cox Mill coach Ralph Viegelmann thought his team’s defense was its best trait in the match.
“Our defense stayed proper through the entire match,” said Viegelmann, who replaced Michelle Phillips as the Chargers’ coach.
The Chargers’ record is 2-0, while Mount Pleasant sits at 1-1.
In the first set Tuesday, Cox Mill got off to an early start, taking a 9-4 lead. Mount Pleasant later tied it up before a Charger timeout. The timeout didn’t halt the momentum, though, as the Tigers would continue on their run, making it 22-20 before the Chargers stormed back and ended it, 25-23.
The fight that was shown in the first set would be a consistent piece of the Tigers attack as the sets continued.
The second set saw Mount Pleasant take a 12-11 lead after Cox Mill had extended its lead to four. A Tiger timeout came later in the set, as the Chargers took a commanding 22-17 lead that they would use to eventually win, 25-20.
Plays at the net defined the Chargers’ night, with pounding blocks and spikes to go around. One of the biggest players at the net was senior hitter Anna Siersma.
“We like to run a fast offense and to be really aggressive,” said Siersma. “We don’t like going down without a fight.”
This trend continued in the last set, as a late block helped the Chargers end it.
The final set saw the Chargers take an early lead again and stretch it to six points, while the Tigers continued to fight back late and bring it within three multiple times. In the end, Cox Mill widened its lead again, going up 20-14 before Mount Pleasant took its last timeout. But the Chargers only extended their lead and won, 25-16.
“I think we did a really good job of covering the court and playing our defense the best that we could,” said Mount Pleasant coach Blair Sanders. “We had a lot of collaboration, we talked a lot, worked together as a team. I think that we’re starting to gel.”
Both teams play again Thursday, the Chargers at West Rowan, and the Tigers face Jay M. Robinson at home.