Teams prepping for playoff push

By Cory Smith - csmith@mtairynews.com
Stephen Gosnell and the East Surry Cardinals are ranked No. 11 in 1A and have a 5-2, 1-0 record. - Cory Smith | The News
In the final week of the regular season, North Surry boasts a 15-8, 9-3 record and is ranked No. 24 in 2A. - Cory Smith | The News
Bryan Valadez and the Mount Airy Bears are the No. 4 ranked 1A soccer team with a 12-2, 2-1 record. - Cory Smith | The News
Surry Central’s No. 1 seed Hannah Pardue has led the Golden Eagles to a 14-1 regular season record that included another undefeated conference campaign. - - Cory Smith | The News

With playoffs for various fall sports approaching, we at the Mount Airy News wanted to take a look at local teams that are currently favored to reach the postseason.

In this article, we will be breaking down the rankings of local volleyball, boys soccer, football, and girls tennis teams. Mount Airy soccer, North Surry volleyball, Mount Airy football, and East Surry tennis all reached the final four of their respective sports in the fall of 2017, the latter two of which reached the championship.

Rankings for tennis are based on the North Carolina High School Tennis Coaches Association, while the rest come from MaxPreps.

Volleyball

1A

East Surry finished 26-3, 10-0 last season with just one loss in 1A competition. This loss came to Polk County in the Elite 8 of the State Playoffs. East ended the season ranked No. 5 in the division.

The Cardinals currently sit at 17-4, 8-0 and are the No. 3 ranked 1A team as well as the highest-ranked team in the West.

East has players across the leaderboards for various stats. Ally McCraw leads the division in assists with 757 while Maggie Holt is atop the division with 124 blocks. Allie Bruner’s 851 attacks and 301 kills are both good enough for second in the entire state 1A division. Morgan Smith is third in the division in attacks with 711.

Fellow Northwest 1A Conference team South Stokes sits at No. 14 in the state. The Sauras finished the 2017 season 15-10, 6-4 and reached the second round of the playoffs before falling to East Surry.

The 2018 Sauras (17-6, 5-4) are led by the two-headed monster of Lydia Caudill and Lilly Weaver. Caudill (.318) and Weaver (.311) are No.’s 8 and 9 in the state in hitting percentage, while Weaver is also No. 5 in kills (258). Teammate Macy Nelson is No. 4 in the state with 429 digs and Haley Rothrock is No. 13 in assists with 396.

2A

North Surry finished as the No. 3 2A in the state in 2017 by finishing 29-2 (12-0) and reaching the Western Regional Final.

The Lady Greyhounds are experiencing a down year by their legendary standards but are still a dangerous team. The Hounds currently sit at No. 24 in 2A with a record of 15-8 (9-3). Leading the Lady Hounds’ attack is senior OH Camille Cartwright, who leads the state 2A division with 763 attacks and is 13th in kills with 218.

Ahead of North in both conference and state standings is Forbush. The Falcons (17-4, 11-0) swept the Hounds in regular season competition and are ranked 11th in 2A.

Boys Soccer

1A

The NW1A Conference occupied both spots in the Western Regional Final in 2017 and also featured the 1A State Champion. Mount Airy (23-2-1, 5-1) and Bishop McGuinness (19-2-3, 5-1) met three times in the 2017 season. The Bears took the first meeting and the Villains took the final two plus the penalty shootout tiebreaker.

The 2018 Villains sit at 14-2-1, 3-0 and are the No. 1 ranked team in the state. Mount Airy isn’t far behind at No. 4 with a record of 12-2, 3-1.

The Bears and Villains each have an offensive player inside the top-10 for both scoring and overall points. Bishop’s Brandon Linares is No. 3 in the state with 73 points and No. 1 in goals (34). Mount Airy’s Austin Tumbarello is No. 8 with 54 points and No. 9 in goals (23).

Mount Airy’s keeper Jesus Valadez is also second in the state with a goals against average of .691 having only allowed eight goals in 14 matches.

2A

The Surry Central Golden Eagles have reached the third round of the 2A State Playoffs each of the past two years and may well get over the hump in 2018.

The Eagles are quietly on track for their first undefeated conference campaign in years. At 11-1-2, Central is riding a 10-match winning streak and has just five matches left. The Eagles are the sixth-rated 2A team in the state, according to MaxPreps.

Also in the top-25 is WPAC’s current second place team West Stokes. The Wildcats (9-3-3, 7-1) have won 7-of-8 with the lone defeat being a 1-0 loss to Central. The Cats have experienced a huge turnaround from a 2017 record of 5-12-4, 2-8.

*Player stats were not available for Surry Central and West Stokes soccer.

Girls Tennis

1A

A team from the Northwest Conference has competed for the 1A State Championship every year since 2010. This trend could very well continue in 2018, with three NW1A schools among the top-15 in the division.

East Surry finished 2017 with an 18-4, 9-1 record and reached the state championship before falling to Raleigh Charter. The Lady Cardinals defeated Bishop McGuinness in the state semifinal.

This year, both the Cards and Villains are ranked in the top-5. East (16-2, 8-2) is ranked No. 4 and Bishop (16-2, 10-0) is ranked No. 2. Also receiving top-10 votes was North Stokes (9-6, 5-5).

The Cardinals returned four starters from last season. Leading East Surry is No. 1 seed Abigail Martin. Martin is 15-0 at the No. 1 spot in 2018, as well as 13-1 at No. 1 doubles beside Sarah Mann.

A strong team top to bottom, the two players with the best records for Bishop are No. 4 Katie Dasher and No. 5 Megan Standen. Dasher is 12-1 at No. 4 and Standen is 13-0 at No. 5. Standen is also 8-0 in No. 2 doubles with Michelle Petrangeli.

North Stokes doesn’t have a single player with an above-and-beyond record, but each of the Lady Vikings’ starters are over .500 on the season in singles. The No. 3 doubles team of Addie Bryant and Grace Byerly is 8-1 on the season.

2A

Surry Central has made waves in the tennis community by winning more than 60 conference matches in a row dating back to 2012. Last year, the Lady Eagles finished 16-1, 10-0, and reached the regional semifinal. The Eagles lone loss came to the eventual 2A State Champion, Salisbury.

The NCHSTCA only ranks the top-10 teams. Central came into 2018 as the preseason No. 10 team, tied with Brevard. The Eagles (14-1, 12-0) finished the regular season on a 13-match win streak and undefeated in 2A competition.

The Eagles have won 87.22 percent of individual matches in 2018. In singles, No. 6 Rachel Carter is 13-0, No. 3 Mattie-Grace Snow is 12-1, and Haily Robertson is 11-1. No Central player has lost more than four singles matches this year.

In doubles, No. 3 Carter and Mamie Smith are 13-0, No. 2 Robertson and Snow are 11-1, and No. 1 Sarah Marion and Hannah Pardue are 9-2.

Football

1A

In 2017, the Mount Airy Bears reached the 1AA State Championship with an undefeated record for the third time in 10 years. After spending the year in the top-5, the Granite Bears fell to No. 1 Tarboro in the title game.

The 2018 Bears entered the season without star quarterback Ian Holder and longtime coach Kelly Holder. Fast-forward to Week 9 and Mount Airy is 7-0 overall, 1-0 in conference, and ranked No. 3 in the state.

Also in the top-5 are defending state champions Tarboro at No. 1, the 2017 East Regional Runner-up John A. Holmes at No. 2, North Rowan at No. 4, and No. 5 Pamlico County. Mount Airy and North Rowan are the only teams in the top-5 from the West.

Sophomore quarterback Holden Poindexter has already broken numerous passing records for the Bears. Poindexter has a QBR of 131.9 and leads the division in passing with 1,861 yards. Poindexter is also second in the division in passing touchdowns with 21.

The Bears also boast the No. 1 receiver in the division, Donavon Greene with 775 yards, and the No. 5 division rusher Johnathon Smith with 854 yards, and the No. 5 kicker Jackson Tumbarello (34 points).

Another NW1A team in the top-25 is East Surry. The Cardinals finished 2017 9-5, 4-1 and reached the regional semifinal before falling to Murphy.

The 2018 Cardinals started 4-0 under new head coach Trent Lowman, but are 1-2 in their last three games. The East losses were to 2A West Stokes and 4A Ragsdale. After a bye week, the Cards defeated Bishop McGuinness to start 1-0 in NW1A play.

QB Stephen Gosnell is the spark plug of the Cardinals’ offense. In just six games, Gosnell is seventh in the division in total yards (1342). Gosnell is the only player in 1A to have at least 700 yards passing, 500 yards rushing, and 100 yards receiving.

Second on the Cardinals in rushing is senior Logan Ray. Ray has 461 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns. Five different Cardinals have at least 100 yards receiving: Dillon Mosley (345), Landon Stevens (305), Quincy Smith (176), Jefferson Boaz (145), and Gosnell (102).

Cardinal kicker Derek Sutterby is tied for the third most kicking points in the state with 35. Sutterby is also second in the division with three made field goals.

East also has six players on defense with at least 30 total tackles: Isaac Washington (50), Gunnar Jones (47), Rommie Speaks (45), Hoyt Bullington (41), Mitchell Edwards (34), and Boaz (31).

2A

West Stokes is the highest-ranked area team in the top-25 for 2A. The Wildcats finished 2017 9-4, 5-1, and reached the second round of the 2AA State Playoffs before falling to the eventual state runner-up East Duplin. However, the road is not wide open for the Cats. Defending Western Piedmont 2A champion North Surry is also unbeaten in conference play and seems to be rounding into form with three wins in a row.

No. 24 West currently sits at 6-1, 2-0, and seems headed for a showdown with the Greyhounds (5-3, 3-0) to decide the conference champion. For now, we just have to wait and see how the season pans out before diving into a team breakdown.

Stephen Gosnell and the East Surry Cardinals are ranked No. 11 in 1A and have a 5-2, 1-0 record.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_DSC_0117.jpgStephen Gosnell and the East Surry Cardinals are ranked No. 11 in 1A and have a 5-2, 1-0 record. Cory Smith | The News

In the final week of the regular season, North Surry boasts a 15-8, 9-3 record and is ranked No. 24 in 2A.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_2-2.jpgIn the final week of the regular season, North Surry boasts a 15-8, 9-3 record and is ranked No. 24 in 2A. Cory Smith | The News

Bryan Valadez and the Mount Airy Bears are the No. 4 ranked 1A soccer team with a 12-2, 2-1 record.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_DSC_0969.jpgBryan Valadez and the Mount Airy Bears are the No. 4 ranked 1A soccer team with a 12-2, 2-1 record. Cory Smith | The News

Surry Central’s No. 1 seed Hannah Pardue has led the Golden Eagles to a 14-1 regular season record that included another undefeated conference campaign.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_DSC_0283.jpgSurry Central’s No. 1 seed Hannah Pardue has led the Golden Eagles to a 14-1 regular season record that included another undefeated conference campaign. Cory Smith | The News
Which teams are hot at the end of the regular season?

By Cory Smith

csmith@mtairynews.com

Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith

Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith