Mount Airy volleyball completed its final scrimmage of the summer session this week. The next time the Lady Bears step on the court, it will be for official tryouts.
Chuck Morris’ Lady Bears have taken full advantage of their summer scrimmages. The latest of which saw fellow Northwest 1A Conference team North Stokes travel to the Granite City on Thursday.
“They’ve been playing a little tired tonight because we’ve been in the middle of camp,” Morris said. “They worked out two times on Monday, worked out Tuesday morning, played Tuesday night, played Wednesday morning, played Wednesday night, (then) we had a session this morning and then played tonight, and have another session in the morning.”
The Bears and Vikings competed in seven sets as part of the scrimmage, alternating between Varsity and JV after 25 minutes of game time. Mount Airy’s varsity squad took the opening set 25-22 before trailing in the second 13-12 when time expired. The Bears’ JV team fell 11-25 and 4-8 their first time out. Varsity returned with a 23-25, but started 7-0 in the next set before winning 22-9. Time expired in the final JV set, with North Stokes winning 24-21.
Before Thursday’s scrimmage, Mount Airy competed at home on Tuesday and then at Alleghany Wednesday.
“I feel good about them; they’re coming together,” Morris said. “I’m pleased with the overall efforts. I am looking for a little stronger defense this year.”
The 2017-2018 Lady Bears finished 14-13, were runners-up in the NW1A Conference Tournament, and reached the second round of the NCHSAA State Playoffs. The class graduated three seniors, including NW1A Co-Player of the Year Madeline Mayfield. Rising seniors on the 2018-2019 team include Maggie Beal, Meredith Cox, Hanne Cooke, Piper Draughon, and Hannah Williams.
In addition to the new senior leadership, Morris has big expectations for the two rising sophomores that spent their freshman year on the varsity squad, Avery Cox and Brooke Lankford.
“My expectations are for them to be leaders as sophomores,” Morris said.
Volleyball season in Surry County means facing some of the toughest competition in the state with North Surry, Surry Central, and East Surry always sporting skilled squads. Morris said the best way to prepare for the local competition is conditioning.
“We condition really hard in the spring so that we are prepared for these scrimmages,” Morris said. “We condition a lot knowing that, because we play some good competition, we are likely to go five (sets) lots of times. We have to be prepared physically to play in a five-set match.”
The team will compete in official scrimmages against McMichael on August 6 and in the Jamboree at Appalachian State on Aug. 11. The Lady Bears’ first match is Aug. 13 at Elkin.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith