PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Lady Cardinals beat North Wilkes 3-0 in volleyball thanks to some potent serving.
The Lady Vikings showed some good play during rallies, but the Cards put together several runs behind the serving arms of Cheyenne Kota (eight aces), Gabi Jessup (four aces) and Jessi Marion (four aces).
Serving is something that Coach Caleb Gilley emphasized over summer practice.
Good serves can take an offense out of its system and force them to send free balls back, Gilley explained.
Cheyenne hit her serves with good velocity, and she’s left-handed so the ball comes off differently, he noted. Gabi and Jessi hit their locations well and kept the defense off-balance.
The team will have a harder time trying to get North Surry out of system when they play today at home, he said. North always has good passing teams.
In the first game, the Vikings took the first point, but that was their only lead. East went on a 9-2 run to force a timeout.
North Wilkes came back determined and eventually closed the lead to 13-12.
The Cards answered with another spurt. From 17-14, East won the final eight points, with seven of them coming behind Kota’s serve. That included back-to-back aces.
In the second game, the Vikings went ahead 5-1, then a great hustle play got the team and the home crowd pumped up.
A second touch looked to hit the floor deep in East’s side, but Marion raced over and with one fist swung down and golfed the ball over the net.
Two plays later, Kacie Markle would keep another rally alive with a one-handed dig.
The Cards clawed back to tie the match at 8-all.
East led 12-10 when North Wilkes ran off four-straight points, drawing a timeout from Gilley.
Behind 13-16, the Cards scored five straight points with Kota serving to take the lead.
The Vikings tied the game at 19-all, but Jessup would supply a couple of aces to boost her team to 23-20.
Marion would finish off the game 25-20 with a stuff block.
In the third set, North Wilkes led 8-7 when East made a comeback. Several points came on Marion’s serve as East went up 20-9.
Karli Fulp served the team to the final three points for a 25-12 win.
In addition to her four aces, Marion chipped in with nine digs, six blocks and four kills.
“Jessi was all over the place tonight,” said Gilley. This team has good length and athleticism, so they can cover a lot of ground, he noted. Jessi does a good job of moving from sideline to sideline when needed.
Sydney Mosley, still playing setter with Olivia Sheets out, handed out 19 assists to go with six blocks.
Markle led the team with seven kills and had six digs.
Jessup had four blocks and four kills. Kristel Hicinbothem added four kills and Kota three.
Libero Jesse Barr posted four digs.
The varsity will start today around 6-6:15 p.m., following the JV match.