Mount Airy challenged early, but North Surry pulled away to take all three sets in Thursday’s volleyball rivalry.
Each team was missing a middle hitter as North’s Mikaela Johnson and Mount Airy’s Katie Hicks watched from the bench.
In the first set, the Lady Bears pulled out to a 7-2 lead before the Lady Greyhounds clawed back to 8-7.
Mount Airy refused to give up the lead at that point and pushed ahead to 16-11.
North got the ball back, and Jordan Badgett served the team to a couple of points, drawing a timeout from Bear coach Chuck Morris at 16-14.
Volleyball is all about those three- and four-point runs, said Morris. Teams have to understand that runs happen, shut them down and make a run of their own.
After the timeout, however, North kept the run going, eventually putting 11 straight points on the board to jump ahead 22-16.
“We recovered from a slow start in the first eight or 10 points and went on a nice run,” said North coach Shane Slate.
“We were successful during that stretch because we passed more balls to target which allowed our offense to run smoother. Taylor was hot hitting during that run, and we were able to feed her the ball. Jordan was dialed in serving to target and kept them out of system some so we picked up easier balls on defense.”
North went on to win the first set 25-20.
In the second set, North was ahead 4-3 when Bear freshman Sadie Brooks came down on teammate Sarah Lankford’s foot and rolled her ankle. Brooks spent the rest of the match on the sideline with a bag of ice.
From 5-4, Badgett again served North to a run, getting eight straight points for a 13-4 lead.
“We just couldn’t stop Taylor Hill on the left side,” said Morris. Hill and Aubrey Hall went high enough to spike over Mount Airy’s block attempts.
Morris said he thought that his front line would get more touches on those swings and slow the ball down. Instead, he counted 23 mistakes on dig attempts — often because the Hounds were hitting with high velocity.
At the same time, the Bears didn’t have anyone who was finishing off swings like that, he said.
Samantha Kovach and Brooks were hitting with good efficiency, but not getting the same number of kills.
Brooks had five kills before going out. Setter Lankford only finished with 12 assists.
There were way too many passing errors, especially in the second set, Morris said. Which made it hard to press the attack.
In the past few years, North Surry has dominated in volleyball, and Morris said he worried that his team might have paid too much attention to the name on the jersey instead of believing in themselves. But, this is a young team that is still maturing and will get there, he added.
In the third set, North was up 7-4 when Mount Airy scored three times to tie it, drawing a Hound timeout.
The score was 13-12 when North went on an 8-1 run to take a 21-13 lead. They won 25-16.
For North, Hill led all hitters with 17 kills and four blocks. Hall had seven kills and Martha Holt four.
Morgan Hawks had 29 assists. Sister Maggie Hawks led the Hounds with 25 digs, while Hill had 15 and Badgett 12
Badgett was a perfect 24/24 with three aces. Martha Holt went 6/6.
Mount Airy also served well with only five errors.
Lankford and Charli Hiatt were each 9/9, Abby Harold was 8/8, Skyler Flippen 6/6 and Amy Kunkel 8/9.
North Surry (4-2) hosts West Forsyth on Tuesday, while Mount Airy (3-3) goes to Alleghany on Wednesday.