Mount Airy volleyball overpowered Bishop McGuinness 3-0 on Tuesday.
The undefeated Lady Bears hammered the back line of the Lady Villains with shot after shot with velocity thanks to hitters like Sadie Brooks, Megan Fleming, Madeline Mayfield and Katie Hicks, who missed part of the match with an injury.
The Bears (11-0) trailed 3-4 in the first set when Brooks served the team on a 9-0 run. Bishop scored to finally break the run and make it 12-5. On the next point, Hicks turned her right ankle, which already sported a heavy brace from a previous injury.
Hicks going out took some of the enthusiasm out of the home team and crowd, and Bishop capitalized to close to 14-12, a 7-2 spurt.
The Bears started to claw back to a lead at 23-17, but Bishop ran off five straight points to make it close again before the Bears won 25-22.
During that time, Hicks received a fresh ankle taping from athletic director Donald Price, then put her brace back on. With the second set tied at 5-5, Hicks returned and quickly got a kill to make it 7-5.
At 11-9, the Bears went on a 9-1 run for a 20-10 lead. However, Bishop didn’t fold and cut the lead to five at 23-18 before Mount Airy won 25-19.
The Bears led 6-5 when Fleming hammered in three straight serves. The Bears reached a 13-8 lead when Bishop called a timeout, but the Bears kept the pressure up and soon led 17-10.
With the home crowd anticipating a win, however, the visitors ran off five straight points to cut the lead to 17-15.
At 22-18, the Bears won the final three points to complete the sweep.
“It’s always good to get a win over Bishop,” said coach Chuck Morris. The Villains are scrappy, and the Bears enjoy the competition with them.
The girls are continuing to learn how to play hard but under control in tough spots, he said.
Now that Morris is in his third year coaching the Bears, the girls really understand the system now and know where they are supposed to be. He said that is allowing the offense and defense to gel as the season progresses. In this match, the passing was better than it has been in a while, which helped to run the offense.
Sadie is a big hitter at the net, but there are others who are hitting at a very efficient rate, he noted. That makes it tough for teams to key in on one player.
Not all teams post stats online with MaxPreps, but among all the 1A teams who have listed stats, Hicks and Mayfield are sixth and seventh in hitting percentage.
Hitting percentage penalizes errors greatly as they are directly subtracted from kills, and then what is left is divided by the number of swings taken.
Brooks is at .273, which isn’t bad, but Morris noted that Hicks is at .362 and Mayfield at .345. Harold is actually ahead of both of them at an impressive .437, but she doesn’t have enough attempts to be ranked in the state. If she did, she would be first.
As a team, the Bears are probably leading all of 1A in kills per set right now, Morris believed. Maybe in blocks per set as well, he said.
Setter Sarah Lankford is ranked first on MaxPreps with 9.8 assists per set. Bishop’s Madison Riggs is second at 8.3 and North Stokes’ Megan Condon is third at 7.4.
In blocks per set, Hicks and Harold are sixth and seventh respectively, while East Surry’s Sydney Marion is 15th.
As for the back line, Kayla Hicks is 14th in digs per set, but the Bears have six players averaging five or more digs per overall match. Bryce Smith, East Surry, is second in 1A with six digs per set.
MaxPreps doesn’t chart serving accuracy, but the Bears likely would be very high there as well. The Bears have gotten 92 percent of their serves in play, even with some of the hard shots coming from their big swingers. Mount Airy is only giving up about six points per match due to missed serves.
Lankford and Mayfield have each gotten 95 percent of their serves in play. Four players are in double figures for aces, led by Lankford with 35.
Winston-Salem Prep doesn’t have a team this season, so Thursday is open, noted Morris.
Mount Airy returns to action Saturday at Starmount for a trimatch. The Bears play the Lady Rams at 10 a.m. After that match, the Bears get 30 minutes to rest, then take on Surry Central.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692 and on Twitter @SportsDudeJeff.