Lady Raiders claim second straight championship

Published 7:01 pm Saturday, October 29, 2022

Same gym, same opponent, same result. The Pungo Christian Academy girls volleyball team claimed their second straight NCISAA 1A state championship with a 3-0 sweep of The Albemarle School in front of a capacity crowd on Hank Stoop Court Saturday afternoon.

The Tar Heel Independent Conference rivals met for the title last year with the same outcome and the Lady Raiders won the three previous meetings this season

“We know them really well and did a great job of exploiting their soft spots,” coach Melanie Eddleman said. “We knew who to target and executed our own offense very well at the same time.  We had some nerves out there because the girls really wanted to win again. I called a couple of timeouts to remind them to stay calm and play their game.”

The Lady Raiders (27-4) trailed early in each set, but prevailed 25-18, 25-18 and 25-16 behind the serving of freshman Anna Stoop and the kills from her older sister Reagan.

“She (Reagan) is our glue on the floor,” Eddleman said. “She keeps us together and everyone really likes playing with her. They expect that she is going to make the kill and in those rare situations where she doesn’t, they move on to the next point.”

Reagan Stoop is the program’s all-time leader with over 1,000 kills in her four-year career and is the four-time TIC player of the year.

“It’s really exciting that we won and there’s a lot of different emotions involved,” she said. “It’s the last match for the seniors and it’s a relief to win because there was pressure to repeat (as champions). Our crowd gave us great energy and that really helped us today.”

Albemarle finished 21-7, with four of the losses to PCA.