Lady Raiders play for state title, Northside’s season ends

Published 11:30 am Friday, October 29, 2021


The Pungo Christian Academy girls volleyball team will play for the first state championship in program history against The Albamarle School of Elizabeth City at home Saturday at 4 p.m.

The top-seeded Lady Raiders (19-3) will face the second-seeded Colts (15-3) in the NCISAA 1A title match for the fourth time this season, in search of just the second state championship in school history. The Tar Heel Independent Conference rivals split during the regular season and PCA won the conference tournament title in the most recent meeting two weeks ago.

“They only lost one other match besides the ones against us and they’ve beaten us once, so we know we are in for a fight,” PCA coach Melanie Eddleman said. “It’s great to play in front of our fans and our gym will be packed and loud. It should be a fun experience for everyone.”

PCA has played in a state final eight times, winning the 1987-88 girls basketball title.

They defeated league rival Lawrence Academy in the quarterfinals after having a first round bye, then swept Greenfield, 3-0, Tuesday to advance.

“Reagan (Stoop) is our most powerful hitter and they will be ready to stop her, since they’ve seen her so much,” Eddleman said. “We have several other solid hitters, so that will help. Our girls get along very well off the court, so our chemistry is outstanding and they love our school. It would be the best highlight to win and make history, but Albemarle is very good. It’s a legit state championship match.”

Meanwhile, the Northside Panthers quest for an NCHSAA 1A title ended with a third round loss to Oxford Prep Thursday night at home.

The third-seeded Panthers (20-3) lost, 3-1, to the 11th seeded Griffins (21-4) after a third set rally that extended the season.

Northside led 9-5 in the first set before the Griffins rallied late for a 25-21 victory.

The Panthers faltered early in the second and trailed 10-3, then fought back to trail 21-19 before falling 25-20.

The team I’ve seen all season showed up in the third set,” coach Michelle Leathers said. “We seemed to have momentum, but they are a good team and we couldn’t dig ourselves all the way out of that early hole.”

Northside jumped out to a 14-4 lead in the third set and won 25-18.

They led 14-12 in the pivotal fourth set, but Oxford Prep came back for a 25-16 win to advance to Saturday’s fourth round.

“It didn’t end like we wanted, but it was still an awesome season,” Leathers said. “We won our conference for the first time ever and won two tournament games. I’m proud of my girls and Oxford Prep played well. Thanks to all the team parents and our fans for supporting us this season.”