PILOT MOUNTAIN — It’s been a trying week for East Surry volleyball. After starting 3-0, the Lady Cards dropped consecutive matches for the first time since 2016.
East (4-2) was out for revenge after a three-game road streak, and unfortunately for North Wilkes, their name was next on the schedule for the vengeful Lady Cards. Caleb Gilley’s Cardinals disposed of the visiting Vikings (0-5) in straight sets.
“I though Tuesday night (vs. Mt. Tabor) took a lot out of us, energy-wise and mentally,” Gilley said. “Wednesday night (vs. Surry Central), we played with a lot of mistakes that I had not seen us make. So tonight was good to get back on our home court, find some energy, and (we) kind of hit them really quick and were able to coast.”
East Surry built a lead early and never looked back. At 10-6, Morgan Smith served the Lady Cards to a 14-6 advantage. Even when the Vikings mustered the ball back to the Cardinals’ side, Smith, Anna Kate Badgett, and Ally McCraw patrolled the back row to keep the ball in play. East also benefited from Maggie Holt blocking at the net.
Kylie Bruner took her turn at the service line and increased the lead. She had a pair of aces that led to a Viking timeout, and then turned around and had another. East Surry went on a 15-3 run to win the first set handily. Conveniently enough, Smith had an ace to score the final point of the set.
Smith acted as if she never left the service line between sets, serving the Cards to a 6-0 lead. Holt and Allie Bruner had kills to side out whenever Wilkes would steal the serve. East built a 16-3 lead.
North Wilkes did manage a 3-point swing to cut the lead to 10 points, but Leah Hayes entered the game to put the cherry on top. Hayes put the Cardinals’ lead at 22-7 before the home team won the set 25-9.
Unforced errors by East and strong back line play from the Vikings made the third set interesting. Allie Bruner put the score at 6-1 with early kills. Slowly, but surely, North Wilkes battled back and even took the lead at 14-13. The Cardinals second unit then took East on a 9-2 run to go up 23-15 and put the game away. East won the final set 25-19.
Another multi-match week awaits the Cardinals next week. Gilley said he likes the progress his team is making, but there are certain aspects of their game that need work before the team is ready to be a contender.
”We are not where we need to be, but it’s a long season and as long as we are continuing to improve, then we’re going to be fine at the end.“
East Surry will host Alleghany (0-2) on August 27, while North Wilkes travels to East Wilkes (0-3) on August 30.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith