DANBURY — The Lady Cardinals jumped out to a fast start against North Stokes, then hung on for a tough, five-set volleyball victory Thursday night.
East Surry started off playing very well, said Coach Caleb Gilley. “We were very sharp serving, passing and hitting.”
The Cards won the first set 25-14 and continued to be sharp through about half of the second set, he said. Then the energy level fell off, and the players looked sluggish.
Fatigue couldn’t have been a surprise as East Surry played long, five-set matches on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
The girls were missing on their serves and weren’t getting into position for their blocking assignments, the coach noted.
The Cards edged the Lady Vikings 27-25, but then dropped two straight sets 15-25 and 19-25.
North Stokes went ahead in the fifth set 14-12 and was serving for the match.
The Cards got a stop, then sent Olivia Sheets to the service line.
Olivia had been struggling with her serve in this match, said Gilley, but she came up with three good hits at the end.
On all three balls, East Surry went to middle hitter Keri Fulp. She earned two kills to put East ahead 15-14.
On the third swing, North Stokes kept the ball alive and tried to attack, but Fulp blocked the ball back to the Vikings’ side of the floor for the win.
Fulp finished with 34 kills and five blocks.
The senior had missed the previous game against Alleghany.
Gilley said that absence might have helped his team in the long run. Ashley Smith, Gabi Jessup and Destiny Edmonds all were more aggressive at the net on this night.
They didn’t have that many kills because North Stokes had good floor coverage, but they put some good velocity on the swings and kept the hitting errors low, the coach pointed out.
Smith and Jessup finished with five kills each, and Edmonds had three. Kacie Markle was the big gun for the Cards when Fulp was out, and she continued to play well in this one with 12 kills.
Also, Smith had four blocks, Jessup three and Edmonds two.
Sheets provided three blocks as well as passing out 43 assists. Smith helped out with the setting with 11 assists.
On the back line, libero Sydney Mosley led the team with 18 digs, while Sheets and Jessica Barker had 10 each. Jesse Barr added seven digs and Laken Bowman three.
“I’m glad to be done with this week,” admitted Gilley after playing 15 sets in just three days.
Still, after a loss to conference leader North Surry, the Cards have run off three straight wins to improve to 12-3, 8-1 in the Northwest Conference.