DURHAM — PAC-6 volleyball has been dominated by a triumvirate of Person, Riverside and Jordan almost since the 4A conference was formed a dozen years ago.
Now East Chapel Hill is threatening to crash the party.
The Wildcats are just 8-8 overall, but are firmly in second place in the PAC-6 after beating both Person and Jordan in East's first leg of the conference schedule.
East was 4-8 barely a week before Thursday's 3-0 win at Jordan, but started a four-match win streak with a 3-0 decision Sept. 17 at Person, where the ’Cats fought off four game points for Person in the third and pulled out a 32-30 win for the match.
“It started for us at Person,” East coach Michelle Wood said. “Since that win we've just been tougher mentally and more focused.”
East followed that win with a hard-fought, emotional win at Chapel Hill on Monday, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23, 25-23. CHHS led in each of the games, Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris noted, only to see East rally to win three times by two points.
“You just don’t want to see a team come onto your home court and do that,” Norris said shortly before watching her team bounce back Tuesday with a 3-0 sweep of visiting Northwood.
East won at Chapel Hill for the first time in more than 10 years. The Wildcats’ most recent win against CHHS before last week was a 3-0 victory at East in 2009.
East Chapel Hill did much the same on Thursday at Jordan, marking the first time that the Wildcats have beaten Jordan in four years. The Falcons led in each of the games, including a 13-12 lead midway through game three, before Sarena Seelbach served East to seven straight points and a lead the 'Cats never lost again.
Seelbach, a junior middle hitter, has been one of the team leaders along with junior outside hitter Annie Carter, senior libero Sydney Levine and junior outside hitter Danielle Amer.
“Those four have just decided that they're going to work and work harder,” Wood said. “Whenever somebody gets down, they’re always there to pull them up and encourage them to get ready for the next play.”
Despite the ground gained by East Chapel Hill, Riverside (15-1 overall) remains in first place in the PAC-6 with a 5-0 conference record. Jordan (6-12) and Person (7-4) are tied for third place at 2-2 in conference play.
East Chapel Hill plays at Riverside on Tuesday.
“That's one we're really looking forward to,” Wood said.