First Posted: 11/4/2009
Since last seasons loss at the hands of rival Starmount in the final eight, the North Surry Greyhounds have been focused on a state volleyball title.
After ripping through the regular season, just one team now stands between the Greyhounds and that elusive title.
Tuesday, the Greyhounds (32-0) disposed of Randleman by scores of 25-11, 25-20 and 25-16 to punch their ticket to the 2A finals in Raleigh Saturday where they will take on Cedar Ridge (25-4), a 3-0 winner over East Duplin in the Eastern 2A finals.
Last Saturday, North Surry was pushed to the limit in what might have been the closest match of the Greyhounds season, a 3-2 victory over Newton-Conover to advance to the Western championship match.
The Greyhounds won the second, third and fifth sets by scores of 25-22, 25-17 and 15-12, while Newton-Conover took the first and fourth sets, 26-24 and 25-23.
We were in a fight from start to finish today, North Surry coach Shane Slate said at the time. Conover is an excellent team, and they really gave us all we could handle today.
While the road hasnt been easy for the Greyhounds, their record might indicate otherwise.
North Surry barely dropped a game during its first season in the newly-formed Northwest 1A/2A Conference, twice besting conference runner-up East Surry to finish the season 14-0.
The Greyhounds dominance was acknowledged by the conferences coaches as Kara Hodges, Courtney Campbell, Nicole Rumplasch, Summer Robertson and Sara Parker received all-conference honors, while Morgan Bunker and Emily Culler were pegged for honorable mention honors.
Coach Shane Slate was named the conference coach of the year, while Hodges, a senior setter, was named its player of the year.
Slate said Hodges brought consistency and a strong all-around game to the Greyhounds.
Shes obviously a top notch setter, Slate said. Shes got great hands, understands how to distribute the ball on offense and, plus, since we run a 5-1, she is an offensive threat and an excellent blocker. She is what you are looking for in that particular position.
A good team a year ago, the Greyhounds returned all major components in 2009, making them one of the teams to beat when the season began.
Slate said having a team full of seasoned veterans has certainly made North Surry a strong and, maybe more importantly, steady team.
I think experience that has come from them playing together so long, Slate said when asked about this teams best attributes. Nobody was lost from last years squad, and weve had these kids play club together so they are accustomed to being on the floor together, working together and playing together. Really, the other thing is balance. We have a lot of players in our rotation doing the things they are supposed to do, making it hard for teams to get on runs and key on certain players.
Courtney Campbell put it bluntly.
Were a family, we all play together.
Throughout the course of the season, the Greyhounds continually played, and defeated, top notch schools from larger classifications, including Mount Tabor and McMichael in one Saturday afternoon.
Slate said he thinks the tough competition helped prepare his team for a strong playoff run against the top 2A teams from around the state.
Most definitely, Slate said. We always try to schedule tough in the non-conference to prepare for the conference regular season and the playoffs as well. Newton-Conover in particular was a lot bigger than anybody we played and thats something you want to try to face before you see it in the state playoffs. Mount Tabor and McMichael and those other teams were good for that.
When talking to North Surry seniors Hodges, Campbell, Robertson and Parker, the players think they havent been respected as much as they deserve and feel they still have something to prove.
Its kind of like revenge, I guess, Hodges said of this years playoff run. Just not against the same team.
Contact Thomas Smith at [email protected] or 719-1920.