Defending champ Hounds fall in volleyball opener
by Jeff Linville Staff Reporter
BOONE — North Surry opened the volleyball season with a road loss at Watauga 3-1 Tuesday.
The Lady Greyhounds were the state 2A champions last year, but came up a little short against the Lady Pioneers. Each of the three losses came by just two points.
The team was missing setter Bailey Culler, who has run the offense the past two years. Bailey is still recovering from a broken hand she suffered over summer vacation, noted Coach Shane Slate.
In her place, Morgan Hawks provided 38 assists and 11 digs.
“We need to do a better job of passing the ball to target in serve-receive — and on defense — because we spent too much time out of system,” said Slate.
“We lacked consistency in a lot of areas of play tonight,” he added. “We were pretty good all night serving and blocking. Our attacking needs work because we are still not seeing the floor all the time.”
North Surry and Watauga split the first two games by identical scores. The Pioneers won 25-23, then the Hounds won 25-23. In the third set, the teams battled long and hard until the home team pulled out a 28-26 set. Then the Pioneers finished it off with a 25-23 game.
Like last year, the Hounds have plenty of height in the middle of the floor. Malaya Johnson and Erin March man the center of the net.
Johnson posted 13 kills to lead the team. March led the defense with 13 blocks, while Johnson added 11.
Aubrey Hill steps up from the JV team to play outside hitter with Taylor Hill. Hill had 11 kills Tuesday, while Hall posted 12 digs.
Conference shot put champion Alex Cooke plays the right-side hitter. She posted seven kills and eight blocks.
Fellow track standout Kendra McKeithen will provide depth for the front line once she finishes her military obligation.
Slate said McKeithen has been training out of state with the U.S. Army Reserves.
Two other new faces up from JV are Jordan Badgett and Hannah Harrison.
With Maddison Hawks graduated, Abby Golding has stepped in at libero. She led the team with 14 digs.
At the service line Golding went 23/24 with two aces, Hawks 22/23 with two aces and Johnson 16/17 and one ace.
The Hounds travel to East Surry today for a match. Then on Saturday, the team will take part in a tri-match at Starmount with Carson.
In junior varsity action, the Hounds lost 2-0.
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