PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Lady Cardinals jumped on Elkin early and cruised to a 3-0 sweep in volleyball.
East Surry’s JV team got the ball rolling by starting both of its games with 7-0 runs and never trailing in the 2-0 win.
Then the varsity squad shot out to a 10-2 start, drawing a timeout from the Elkin coach.
The Cards led 20-11 when Elkin got back-to-back points to make it 20-13.
Despite a seven-point lead, Coach Caleb Gilley called a timeout to urge the girls to play harder and cut down on the free balls floating back over the net.
The Cards took the next five points for a 25-13 win.
In the second game, the varsity again roared out to an early lead at 13-4 as Elkin called a timeout. The Cards cruised to a 25-11 win.
At the start of the third game, the Lady Elks went up 2-1, the only lead of the match for the visitors.
East Surry responded with a 9-3 run, with Elkin calling a timeout. The Cards kept up the pressure, going ahead 23-11 before giving up three late points in a 25-14 win.
“I felt like we did a great job of jumping out and getting a lead,” said Gilley. However, the girls then would sit on those leads and never put them away until the very end. But I’m sure they were all nervous, first-game jitters.”
Part of losing that momentum was failing to get the serves in play. East Surry missed 13 serves in three games, he noted. That is something that will continue to be emphasized in practice.
Once the rallies started, Gilley said the team’s hitting percentage and passing were both pretty good.
Junior setter Olivia Sheets is out with an injury for the next two weeks, so that has disrupted the offense, the coach said. Olivia was a setter in middle school and stepped right into the role as a freshman.
Sydney Mosley hasn’t played setter since she was in middle school three years ago, but is filling in until Olivia is back, he said.
“Sydney is getting better every day,” he said. “She has great hands, it’s just running the offense.”
Olivia has been running the show for so long she makes it look easy, but Sydney (24 assists Monday) is getting there.
Once Olivia is back, Mosley will return to her normal libero position, and Jesse Barr slides from libero to defensive specialist.
“When everyone is healthy, we will be a pretty good team,” he said.
“Really, they all get along,” he said. “Great chemistry, great kids. … They all want to stay in the gym. They’ve been working hard all summer and preseason to get better.”
The Cards lost player of the year Keri Fulp to Wake Forest, and no single player can replace the kills and blocks she provided up front. Instead, Gilley is counting on a balanced attack.
“Tonight we had good balance, everyone was contributing,” he said.
Kacie Markle led the way with 10 kills, followed by Jessi Marion with seven. Cheyenne Kota and Kristel Hicinbothem had five each.
Markle and Marion had 10 digs each, and Barr added eight.
Gabi Jessup and Kota had three aces serving, and Hicinbothem and Markle had two each.
Gabi and Kacie do a good job of spot serving, he said, while Kota and Hicinbothem — two juniors who moved up to varsity from JV — have good power on the serve.
“I think we’re going to have a tough conference,” he said. Bishop McGuinness, Mount Airy and North Stokes will all be competitive.
“We hate to lose North Surry and Surry Central, but we will still have a competitive conference,” he said. Instead of the local rivals, East Surry is now part of a 1A-only Northwest that added Atkins and Walkertown.