North Surry took care of business Thursday night, sweeping West Davidson 3-0 to advance in the state 2A volleyball playoffs.
The Lady Greyhounds won each set by double digits to set up a rematch with Starmount (28-3). The Lady Rams have beaten the Hounds twice, the only blemishes on a 30-2 record.
North Surry and Starmount have each beaten all three playoff opponents by 3-0 scores so far. The Rams will host the match on Saturday in Jonesville.
West Davidson (15-10) came into Mount Airy fresh off an impressive five-set upset of West Stanly, the top team from the Rocky River Conference at 19-2.
The girls played as a team and showed a lot of excitement in that match, said West Coach Michael Green. The squad didn’t come out with the same energy, and that made the difference against a good North Surry team.
The Hounds might have had something to do with that excitement.
Behind Maddison Hawks’ serve, the Hounds ran off the first five points of the game, drawing a timeout from Green. North added two more points for a 7-0 lead before West Davidson could scratch.
The Lady Dragons took four of the next five points to close to 8-4, but North scored two points for every West point to go up 24-12.
The Dragons held off twice on set points, but lost 25-14.
“We had a great start to the first set, but let up some after we realized we had a significant advantage at the net,” said North Coach Shane Slate.
It didn’t help that one of the Dragons’ best players went down recently with a torn ACL. Green’s daughter, Hannah, watched in street clothes.
In the second set, West Davidson scored three straight points to tie the game at 7-all, but then the Hounds ran off four straight points to earn a timeout from Green.
“It was tied 7-7, and you guys are playing like it’s 25 to nothing,” Green told his team during the timeout.
From that 7-all tie, the Hounds outscored the Dragons 18-8 for a 25-15 win.
The third set started off very close, with North Surry leading just 9-8. Then the home team pulled away with a 16-5 push to finish the match 25-13.
“I thought we missed some plays because we were spectating instead of getting to position,” said Slate. “We cannot play that way Saturday if we would like to advance to a fourth regional final in as many years.”
The Hounds had a clear advantage in hit velocity. Their spikes were noticeably harder than the Dragons’, which made the balls harder to return.
Also, Slate said, “our serve was dialed in, and it helped keep them out of system.”
Hawks led the way with 19-20 with an ace. Kristina Rumplasch was 12-13 with an ace, and Bailey Culler also was 12-13.
“Our short defenders were in pretty good shape digging tips, but we missed some opportunities on the back row against roll shots and soft blocks,” he said.
Hawks led the back line with nine digs, while Rumplasch and Molly Martin had seven each.
Martin led the front line with 10 kills, while Taylor Hill added nine and Malaya Johnson eight.
Johnson, Rumplasch and Erin March each provided five blocks and forced the Dragons into trying to tip the ball around them instead of powering through.
Green said he was proud of his girls for the effort they gave all season. He said they made some small mental mistakes that cost them points, and North Surry capitalized.