JONESVILLE — North Surry lost both games in a volleyball tri-match with Starmount and Carson on Saturday.
The Lady Greyhounds are the defending state 2A champions, but find themselves in unfamiliar territory with three losses in the first four matches. The 2012 team lost only twice all season to finish 33-2.
“We always schedule tough at the beginning of the season,” said Coach Shane Slate. “We’ve been doing that for 15 years. That’s how you find out what you need to do to get better. That’s why we play Carson and Starmount and Watauga and Reagan.”
Certainly, Saturday’s two opponents are no pushovers.
Carson was the runnerup in the 3A state playoffs last season and lost only one senior from that squad, noted Slate.
North’s only two losses last season came to Starmount before the Hounds finally beat the Rams in the West Region semifinal.
In their first match Saturday, the Hounds fell to Carson in three sets.
After a close 25-22 game, Carson won 25-13 in the second. The Hounds again were close, but couldn’t pull out the win in the final game, 25-21.
Middle hitter Malaya Johnson had seven kills and four blocks.
Outside hitter Taylor Hill had five kills and four blocks. Erin March added two blocks.
Alex Cooke had four blocks and served 16/18 with three aces.
Abby Golding was 10/11 serving and led the defense with nine digs. Hill provided seven digs.
Setter Morgan Hawks handed out 20 assists.
North didn’t seem to have any hangover effects from the loss as it jumped on Starmount at the outset, winning 25-12.
However, the Lady Rams came back to take the next two comfortably at 25-12 and 25-10.
The two teams fought well in the last frame before the Rams pulled out a 25-22 win.
Johnson provided 14 kills and three blocks. Aubrey Hall had six kills.
March led the frontline with six blocks.
Golding tallied 11 digs and Jordan Badgett seven.
The serving wasn’t very good from anyone, Slate admitted.
“We play well in fits and starts,” he said. The girls do what they need to do one minute, and then they stand around with a lost look.
They have been too inconsistent and haven’t been running the offense smoothly, he said. When they don’t get into the offense, then they make things harder on themselves to score.
On the positive side, Slate said the Hounds have gotten better at attacking even when the passing and setting haven’t been perfect. The players are making good swings off the back row. Also, the blocking has been good at times, he added.
In order to improve on the court, the players need better practices and more repetitions to become comfortable on the court. There are also a few things that can be tweaked by the players and coach to make it easier to convert.
The Hounds won’t get a chance for practice before their next match.
On Monday, North welcomes Alleghany, then Watauga comes to town on Tuesday.