WINSTON-SALEM — Recruiters from Salem College spent a lot of time in Surry County last volleyball season, and the effort paid off when three local players decided to join the Spirits for the 2017 season.
Salem played its first four matches of the season on Friday and Saturday, and Maggie Hawks, Cameron Sloop and Grayce Goins have all already seen their first college action. The Spirits played two matches on each day as part of the season-opening Eastern Mennonite Invitational in Harrisonburg, Va., and split their matches on both days.
None of the three freshmen were in Salem’s starting lineup on Friday, when the team opened its season with a match against Catholic University and lost 3-1. However, both Sloop and Hawks made their debut and ended up playing in all four sets. Sloop, an outside hitter, had five kills, while Hawks ended up leading the team with 26 digs from her libero position.
The day’s second match was against the host school, and resulted in the first victory of the season for Salem. Again, none of the three started, but both Sloop and Hawks played in the Spirits’ 25-19, 25-22, 25-21 road win. This time, Sloop, an East Surry product, had six kills with just one error, and former North Surry standout Hawks again led Salem with 16 digs.
In a 3-1 loss to Lynchburg on Saturday morning, both of those players again came off the bench, and Hawks again led her team with 27 digs. Sloop had six kills once again. As a team, the Spirits won the first set against Lynchburg, but lost the second one 32-30 after holding five set points, and then couldn’t regain momentum.
Saturday’s finale was a 3-0 shellacking of winless Mary Baldwin College, 25-9, 25-16, 25-17. Goins, of Surry Central, made her college debut in this match. She appeared in two sets of the match as a defensive specialist and served her first career ace in one of them. This match was the first career start for Sloop, who had eight kills and four aces, and led Salem with 12 digs. Hawks played in two of the sets, but her game action was limited.
Salem (2-2) will play in another four-team event this coming weekend, at Roanoke College’s Maroon Classic. The Spirits play Piedmont and Hollins on Friday and Bridgewater and Roanoke on Saturday.