Mount Airys home-court disadvantage

First Posted: 9/12/2009

Ed Phillipps
Staff Reporter

Mount Airy volleyball coach Sarah Knott keeps getting asked the same question. Is it about the teams record? Maybe who the best player on the floor is? Nope.
Everybody wants to know when the Granite Bears will finally play a home game.
Mount Airy High School is remodeling its gym, a process that has left the volleyball team without a home for the first part of the season. The Granite Bears have played eight of their games on the road and the ninth was played at the Mount Airy Middle School.
Its tough, senior outside hitter Katie Joyce said. You go on the road all the time and you just want a break and play at your home court.
Were doing good, you know? Its just tough. All of our parents and some people cant come support us on the road.
While the Granite Bears are off to a 5-4 start, coach Sarah Knott said her squad is feeling the grind of constant travel. On most nights the team doesnt get back to the school until 9 or 9:30 p.m. Once the girls get home, they still have to do homework and then get up early the next morning for school.
I think now its really starting to take its toll, Knott said. Our play this week was not like it was earlier this season.
Mount Airys Sept. 21 clash with undefeated Northwest 1A/2A foe North Surry has already been moved to the Greyhounds court. As of Saturday, the plan is for the Granite Bears to host Bishop McGuinness the following day. However, Knott isnt holding her breath, since she was told they would be on their home floor right after Labor Day.
Labor issues, Knott said she was told, have caused the delay.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage for the Granite Bears has not occurred on game days, but during practice time. Relegated to the stuffy old middle school, Mount Airy has been using equipment that is not standard regulation. Knott said the net her team is practicing on (which was purchased in 1988) does not meet the seven-foot, four-and-1/8-inches height required for girls high school volleyball.
Sometimes going in (to an opponents gym) when we get to a net thats regulation height, it messes up our serves, Knott said. She added that her squad also has to adjust for hitting and blocking as well.
Joyce might be the most excited when Mount Airy moves into its new digs.
The junior high, its messy, hot, she said. Its not that fun for us.
When the new gym is ready to go, the volleyball team will be the first to use it. For a senior like Joyce, that almost makes the wait worth it.
Itll be awesome, she said. Its going to be weird because its not our regular gym. But to play on our home court, its going to be great. Maybe itll pump us up.
Contact Ed Phillipps at [email protected] or 719-1921.

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