WALNUT COVE — East Surry’s volleyball team hadn’t spiked a ball in anger for a week by the time it took a road trip down to South Stokes on Thursday evening.
The Lady Cardinals proved to be more excited than rusty, as they easily dismissed the Northwest 1A Conference newcomers in the second meeting of the season between the two schools, 25-17, 25-18, 25-10, and improved to 15-2 on the season and 5-0 in conference play.
East Surry, currently the state’s fourth-ranked 1A team according to MaxPreps.com, had received a bit of a challenge from the Sauras (10-7, 3-3 NW1A) when the teams met 16 days earlier in Pilot Mountain. That evening, South Stokes won the first set against East, and remains the only team other than North Surry, the state’s top-ranked 2A team, to win a set from the Lady Cardinals all season.
They couldn’t repeat the feat on Thursday, however. East Surry came out of the gate attacking, and even the best efforts of the Sauras couldn’t keep them in this one. In fact, only an uncharacteristic seven service errors by the Lady Cardinals helped keep Stokes competitive at all. In set three, East finally started clicking on all cylinders and easily put their opponents away, even though Coach Caleb Gilley used his entire roster during the match.
To a large extent, the Lady Cardinals took advantage of the fact that no one on the Sauras could deal with senior outside hitter Bethany Clayton, who was the attacker on 45 of East Surry’s 94 kill attempts, and turned 22 of those into Lady Cardinal points. Clayton already has 249 kills this season with a kill percentage of .468. She is second in the state in kills among all 1A players, two behind Cayce Copley of Perquimans, and is a big reason why teammate Kelsey Heflin is second in assists (531) to MacKenzi Thornburg of Roxboro Community.