Orange County has something to rally around this week as Cedar Ridge High School’s Varsity volleyball team will play today in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A playoffs. The Fighting Red Wolves finished their season undefeated at 8-0, and was the Big 8 Conference champion.
The team is the overall eighth seed for the tournament. Cedar Ridge will play the ninth seed, Union Pines. Game time is 7 p.m. and will be played at Cedar Ridge High School. Fan attendance is not allowed because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“I think the team has done a great job pushing through difficult periods,” said Cedar Ridge Senior Varsity player Marlee Rakouskas. “We’ve had many delays In our season where we couldn’t practice for weeks at a time because of exposures to Covid, and when we returned we jumped right back in like nothing had happened. This season has shown that we are a resilient team and that is also great for the future of the program.”
“This season is definitely a lot different from last season,” said sophomore teammate Julie Altieri. “We have had to build a new relationship with a new coach which has come pretty easily. Without our fans and student section in the stands we are forced to be our own fans which has helped bring us closer and become a better, smarter, and more competitive team and I’m excited to see where our program can go this and the following years.
The Fighting Red Wolves are led by sophomore Cameron Lloyd, Outside Hitter, who had 72+ kills, 65+ digs, 13 aces and seven blocks. Sophomore Cameron Lanier, Middle Blocker, had 53+ kills, eight aces and 14 blocks. Senior Marlee Rakouskas, Libero, had 82+ digs and five aces. Sophomore Julie Altieri, Setter, had 130 assists.
“We have been building our total volleyball program over the last few years,” said Cedar Ridge Coach Pam Scism. “We have made great strides in the skill level of our players and coaches. Our program is striving for consistency and longevity throughout the entire program. We are proud of our JV and Varsity teams and how hard they have worked throughout this challenging season. We are thrilled that our Varsity team is the Big 8 Conference champion and look forward to our first state game.”
“I am extremely proud of how our players have showed perseverance through this season,” added Cedar Ridge first-year Coach Fiona Cunningham. “They have shown growth and hard work that I would expect to see during a full uninterrupted season. We couldn’t have managed this season with out the support of all the families, staff, and community at Cedar Ridge working to keep our team safe and healthy.”