by Marty Simkins
WAKE FOREST — This summer, I will be looking back through our old sports stories and bring up some of the best memories of this year’s high school athletics season.
The first memory that comes to my mind from the 2015-16 school year was when Rolesville’s volleyball team earned their first win in program history Aug. 17.
The Rams beat the Wake Forest Cougars 3-2 (24-26, 25-19, 25-22, 16-25 and 15-13) on the road in the first match of the 2015 fall season.
What made the win so special is that Rolesville had gone two straight years without a win and every year they were beaten by Wake Forest twice.
It was also Rolesville’s Brian Harris’ first volleyball match as a high school head coach.
Another interesting fact was that his two daughters, Hannah and Emma, were on Wake Forest’s team. I’m sure that made for an awkward conversation at the dinner table.
The atmosphere of the game was amazing. The fans and parents were cheering after every scored point.
There was a healthy mix of fans from both teams, even though it was a home game for the Cougars.
I remember hearing the encouragement from parents, calling out their daughters’ names and keeping their spirits in the match.
Since the match came down to a winner-take-all fifth set, the energy in the gym was even crazier.
Every single point determined the who would come out on top.
Rolesville’s Ashley Stroot, the team captain, ended the match with an ace that gave the Rams their first victory.
Stroot finished her junior season with a career-high 150 kills, 33 aces, 54 blocks, 49 digs and 13 assists.
After she got that game-winning point at Wake Forest, all of the Rolesville fans jumped up from their seats and cheered more loudly than any other volleyball game I have covered.
It was unlike anything I have ever seen. The atmosphere of the match felt like I was at the state championship.
That win at Wake Forest propelled Rolesville to a 7-16 record. They ended up sweeping Wake Forest, as the Cougars finished the season winless at 0-23.
In their third season as a program, the Rams garnered first-time wins against teams like West Johnston, Clayton, Garner and Southeast Raleigh.
Rolesville swept Clayton Oct. 13 on the school’s first-ever senior night.
Seeing the smiles on the Rolesville players’ faces after the victory made it a match worth covering and I hope that next fall brings more intense games like that one.