The East Surry volleyball team may have saved its best performance of the season for last.
The defending 1-A East Region champs hadn’t looked like much like a contender recently, having dropped three straight matches going into their regular-season finale at Mount Airy, in a match where the Lady Bears were honoring five seniors for Senior Night.
The Cardinals weren’t having any of it on Thursday evening, though. Mount Airy took the Northeast 1-A Conference title away from East Surry this season, but the Cardinals put a damper on any celebration with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-16 straight-set victory.
“This was a big win for us,” said East Surry coach Caleb Gilley. “We felt like if we gave a consistent effort all night, we could beat them. We received serve well, eliminated mistakes, and played at a high energy level all night.
“This was one of the best matches we’ve played all year.”
The Cardinals (13-10, 8-3) had the advantage almost from the beginning, and even a stoppage in play late in the first set didn’t slow down their momentum. East Surry received strong performances up and down its lineup en route to the victory over MaxPreps.com’s eighth-ranked 1-A team.
With the loss, the Lady Bears dropped to 18-4 overall and 10-1 in conference play. Since beginning the season with 18 wins in 19 matches, Mount Airy has dropped three straight matches, winning just one set in the process.
Stats for the Lady Bears weren’t available at press time, but for East Surry, leading performers included Sarah Marion (5 kills, 3 blocks, 7 digs), Sydney Marion (6 kills, 2 blocks), Bryce Smith (14 digs), Hayley Whitaker (10 digs), Bethany Clayton (29 assists, 3 aces, 7 digs), Tara Beck (4 kills, 7 blocks), Alyssa Jessup (7 kills) and Cameron Sloop (8 kills and 8 digs).
Mount Airy honored seniors Samantha Kovack, Skyler Flippen, Abby Harold, Katie Hicks and Amy Kunkel prior to the match.
Both teams have qualified for the state playoffs, but will compete in the conference tournament next week starting on Monday. Pairings were not determined as of press time.