PILOT MOUNTAIN — The East Surry Lady Cardinals continued their homecourt dominance Tuesday, defeating the East Forsyth Lady Eagles in three straight sets. Though the final scoreboard may show a clean sweep by the Cards, East Forsyth put up a valiant effort and gave East Surry a run for its money.
Placement over power was the name of the game. East Surry started off with a quick 4-1 lead by setting up seniors Bethany Clayton and Sarah Marion for kills. Eagle senior Stephanie Eskridge responded with a kill of her own to prevent the Cards from going on a run.
The game soon slowed down and saw longer rallies between the two teams with the score at 12-7 in favor of East Surry. This is where the mantra of placement over power came into play. Cardinal sophomore Kelsey Heflin began painting the back corners and East Forsyth struggled to keep the ball alive. Neither team was able to pull away until East Forsyth committed a number of errors, leading to a 22-15 lead for the Cardinals. Following a timeout, the Eagles made it look like they would make a comeback by scoring three straight, but lost momentum and the Cards took the first set.
East Surry started the second set off with a lead, but the ladies of Forsyth County never allowed the Cardinals to pull away. East Forsyth stepped up their defense big time. Senior Lauren Harkrader and junior Maryssa Wise were a stone wall for the Eagles up front in an effort to keep rallies alive. This effort showed as the Eagles were able to return, block, or at least get a finger on a higher percentage of spikes coming from East Surry.
The ensuing points showed excellent teamwork and resiliency from both squads. With rallies lasting longer, points were more likely to end up from unforced errors or hitting the ball out of bounds. The shining star for East Surry in this time was Marion, who kept pelting balls at her opponents until they could no longer return it.
The scores reflected the back-and-forth nature throughout most of the second set, showing such scores as 12-11, 17-16, and then an 18-all tie. The Cards appeared to be going on a little bit of a run, going up 21-18, but errors from East Surry let the Eagles tie the set again at 22. East Surry was able to pull out a close victory by a margin of 25-23 to take the second set.
The first 10-15 points of the third set came much quicker than in previous sets. In a detrimental combination for the Eagles, East Surry’s serving was excellent, and when East Forsyth was able to take the serve, they put the ball straight into the net. Then the roles reversed, and the Cards were unable to get the ball into Eagle territory off a serve. East Forsyth’s Eskridge kept her team in it with crucial kills and even helped them close the gap to 15-13. But unfortunately for the Eagles, Clayton decided to take over.
Clayton began serving when the score was 15-13 and did not stop serving until the set ended at a score of 25-13 in favor of East Surry. Clayton, known for her impressive vertical and killer spikes, left a trail of fire behind her serves to finish off the visiting Eagles in a 10-0 run. With this win, East Surry is 9-0 in sets at home.
The Cardinals move to 4-1 and will travel to Wilkes Central (1-3) Wednesday. East Surry defeated Wilkes Central 3-0 earlier this season. East Forsyth falls to 1-2 and looks to bounce back against Ragsdale (0-4) on August 28th.
Reach Cory at 336-415-4702 or on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith