KING — North Surry didn’t enter Thursday’s match against West Stokes focused on their first conference loss in 10 years two days before. Rather, the Lady Hounds were zeroed in on starting another winning streak.
The Greyhounds move to 6-5 overall and 3-1 in the Western Piedmont 2A Conference with a straight-set victory at West Stokes. Despite the final scoreboard, West Stokes (2-8, 2-1) looked like they might pull the upset at times.
The young Wildcats took an immediate lead after Madison Upchurch hammered home a kill on the first point. Emily Emerson served the Cats to a 6-2 lead before the Greyhounds could get their footing.
A West Stokes error ended the run and gave Hannah Moxley the ball at the baseline. Moxley served the Hounds to a 7-6 lead. Jessi Shelnutt gave North Surry its first kill of the night to jump-start the Greyhound offense.
Attacks from Camille Cartwright and Natalie Eaton put North ahead 16-12 to force a West Stokes timeout. The Hounds’ lead grew even more after a subsequent block from Moxley and kill from Emma Haynes.
West used another timeout to try to regain composure, but it was too little too late for the first set. North Surry finished on a 13-5 run to win the set 25-17.
The Wildcats once again took a big lead to open the second set. Capitalizing on three straight service errors by the Greyhounds, West took an 8-3 lead. Evann Shelnutt got the Hounds back on track with a kill, but service errors continued to derail the team’s scoring opportunities.
It wasn’t until West Stokes led 17-9 that North earned more than two consecutive points. The Hounds cut the lead to 17-13 to force a Wildcat timeout. Blakeleigh Goldbach had a big kill out of the timeout to hype up the crowd, but North continued cutting into the lead.
A block from Cartwright and Abby Draughn tied the game at 21. North Surry won back-to-back points after a 23-23 tie to win the second set 25-23.
North Surry started the set with an advantage for the first time of the night in the third set. The Hounds led 4-1 after attacks from Evann Shelnutt and defense from Haynes and Moxley.
West’s Abby Walker cut into the lead with strong serving and then gave the Cats a 6-4 lead. Evann Shelnutt and Cartwright, who combined for 19 of the Greyhounds 31 kills, exchanged kills with the Wildcats’ Upchurch and Alexia Campbell as the lead went back-and-forth. Greyhound libero Michaela Stone was all over the place to keep rallies alive.
What ended up being the gamechanger in the third set was a six-point swing that put North ahead 18-13. West Stokes would battle back, but could never prevent North Surry from scoring long enough to make a deep cut into the lead. A long rally that ended with an error from the Wildcats gave North Surry the 25-21 set victory and the match victory.
Cartwright led the Lady Hounds in kills (10), total attacks (36), service attempts (21), and digs (15). Evann Shelnutt was the other offensive force for North, finishing with nine kills, 20 total attacks, and nine service attempts. Delaney Fulk added 27 of the team’s 29 assists in addition to seven digs.
North Surry will next clash with Mount Airy (4-4) on September 10. West Stokes returns to the court the same day when it travels to Starmount (6-4, 2-1).
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith