Knights pick up playoff win

Published 7:58 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011

RIVERSIDE — The Riverside volleyball team picked up right where its regular season left off as the No. 1 Knights topped No. 4 Northampton-West (Tar Roanoke) 25-2, 25-9, 25-7 on Thursday in the first round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs.
Peri Ange and Rebecca Wagner led the team with 18 service points each, while Ashley Holiday tallied five and Hannah Copeland recorded four.
On Tuesday, the Knights (21-0) wrapped up the regular season with a Senior Night victory over area and Four Rivers Conference rival South Creek to head into the postseason undefeated for the first time in Herbie Rogers’ nine-year career as a volleyball coach.
“Our girls have worked extremely hard to get to where we are right now,” Rogers said. “We put in a lot of work this summer and they’ve worked very hard to get where we are.”
Rogers, the reigning WDN Coach of the Year, has had several good teams in the past and said this team is as good as any he has coached.
“This is one of our better teams,” Rogers said. “They have really played well together and they work good together. They are a lot of fun to watch.”
The Knights have a solid all-around team and have maintained perfection thanks to their ability to crush a volleyball.
“I think we have the ability to hit the ball pretty good,” Rogers said. “We have a lot of different people that can come up and hit the ball for us this year from a lot of different positions. That makes it tough for other teams to stop.”
The playoffs were scheduled to begin on Saturday, but teams have the option of playing earlier if both schools agree. Due to a travel issue, Riverside and NH-West both decided that playing Thursday would be best. The win over Northampton-West extended Riverside’s winning streak to 21, as the red-hot Knights will advance to take on the winner of No.2 Creswell (7-6, Tideland)-No.4 Manteo (12-8, Four Rivers) contest.
Rogers said the key to having a long playoff run is that it must execute the fundamentals.
“The first thing we have to do is get good serving,” Rogers said. “Serving leads into everything. If we can do a good job serving we have a good chance to run our offense against other teams.”
Joining Riverside in the playoffs are fellow Four Rivers Conference area teams Northside, Southside and South Creek.
Northside  (7-9) topped Southside on the final day of the regular season to earn a No. 5 seed, and will travel to No. 1 Columbia (15-7, Tideland). The winner of that contest will play the winner of the No. 2 Camden (16-6, Four Rivers)-No.3 Southwest Onslow (12-6, Coastal Plains) matchup.
Southside’s eight wins were enough to earn a wildcard birth into the playoffs and the Seahawks will hit the road to battle No.1 Raleigh Charter (14-3, Carolina 12), with the winner moving on to face the winner of the No. 2 Northeast Edgecombe (11-2, Tar Roanoke)-No. 3 Roxboro (12-10, Carolina) game.
Like Southside, South Creek (10-10) squeaked into the postseason via wildcard and will clash with No. 1 Gates (13-7, Tar Roanoke). If the Cougars win they will battle the winner of the No. 2 NCSSM (13-7, Carolina 12)-No. 3 Northampton-East (11-6, Tar Roanoke) game.