Charlotte Catholic hasn't lost a Queen City 3A/4A volleyball game since joining the league four seasons ago.
It didn't change in the tournament semifinals Tuesday, either.
The top seeded Cougars ran their record to 19-5 overall with a three-game sweep of Berry Academy on the Cardinals' home floor, advancing to the title game against Harding High for the fourth straight year.
Catholic dominated from the opening serve and dispatched the home team in a little more than an hour, much like it has conference opponents during its unbeaten streak.
“That's how we like it,” Cougars coach Tim Leary said. “We pretty much dominated everybody all season, and for them to get 10-12 points, that's pretty much par for the course. We've played a lot of games where teams didn't even get double figures.”
Berry did break past single digits in the first game, but Catholic cruised to a 25-14 win. The Cougars, who have one senior on the roster, turned up the intensity with an easy 25-6 win in the second, but trailed 3-2 in the third game before going on an 8-4 run to seize control for good.
“We were a little bit shaky the first game, but I put in my second unit and they played better than the first unit,” Leary said. “We got a lot out of it like that.”
Catholic's serving set the stage for its dominance, with middle hitter Kelsey Newman paying dividends in the second game.
Her serve pushed Catholic to a 15-2 advantage and all but settled the issue.
“We served really strong, and anytime you serve strong like five, six, seven points in a row, our team has confidence that even though it's close, we're not going to panic,” Leary said.
“We're going to get in there and play our game. We have confidence we're going to make a run.”
The goal is to make another run, for a fourth conference championship.
Harding won't be a pushover, but Catholic has incentives to play at peak efficiency.
“What we talk about is being a champion,” Leary said. “I've coached state championship teams at Catholic and you have to be a champion every day. You can't play one way one day and play the other way (the next).”
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