Marvin Ridge Volleyball Continues Hot Streak With Win Over Defending State Champs

The 2017 Marvin Ridge volleyball team.

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Marvin Ridge picked up a huge resume-building victory Saturday, Sept. 16 when the Mavericks defeated defending Class 3A state champion Cox Mill 3-2 (25-21, 15-25, 27-25, 17-25, 15-13).

The win moved Marvin Ridge to 11-0 overall and they carried a perfect 6-0 record into a Sept. 19 Southern Carolina Conference game against Charlotte Catholic.

Marvin Ridge, which fell in the fourth round of the Class 3A Volleyball Championships while finishing with a 28-4 record in 2016, now may have to be considered one of the favorites to win a state championship when the 2017 playoffs begin.

“It was very big for us,” said Marvin Ridge coach Brook Hammers. “Cox Mill has had such a good program the last few years. We have never been able to get over the hump with them. We have been able to take a set away from them. Our goal is to get as far as we can in the state playoffs. We want to play at the same level as Cox Mill.”

Carly Owens had 15 kills and 12 digs against Cox Mill while Maggie Young added 14 kills. Caitlyn Kiker added 10 kills for Marvin Ridge. Chloe Barbu and Madi Graveline had 18 and 15 digs, respectively. Noelle Soldo added 14 digs. Adriana Jordan had 9.2 assists for Marvin Ridge.

“The girls came out Saturday fired up. We made a lot of little plays that gave us the confidence that we needed,” Hammers said. “The girls knew what to expect and they stepped up. It was very exciting and this was good for us because we know we are capable of competing at the best level that is out there.”

Hammers said the play of Young really stood out against Cox Mill. Young now has 69 kills on the season.

“That is the best I have seen her play, competition-wise,” Hammers said. “I see her every day in practice, but she was huge against Cox Mill. She ran the middle very well.”

Entering the Cox Mill match, Marvin Ridge had won 30 of 31 sets and they had won their previous eight matches 3-0. Marvin Ridge was supposed to travel to Florida for a tournament earlier this month but the trip was canceled due to Hurricane Irma. It was the second-straight year that the Mavs’ trip to Florida has been canceled as Hurrican Matthew was the culprit last year.

“I put the schedule together the way I do so that we are challenged,” Hammer said. “We scheduled the trip to Florida so that we would be challenged by the teams down there, but that trip was canceled. We were very disappointed that the trip was canceled again but we understand the safety of the girls comes first.”

Marvin Ridge still has eight matches, including six SCC matches, left on the schedule and Hammers is looking for the Mavericks to build momentum heading into the Class 3A State Volleyball Championships.

“We still have a long season to go, but this win provides up with some confidence, but not overconfidence,” Hammers said. “We feel we can compete at the next level and we feel we can move further that we have moved before.”

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at