PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Lady Cardinals claimed a 3-1 victory Tuesday on their home volleyball court making it through the second round of the state playoffs. They defeated the Albemarle High School Bulldogs by decisively making hits, passing and effective blocking. In addition, they played very good defense against a tenacious Bulldog team.
The final scores were 25-13, 22-25, 25-23, and 25-21.
The Lady Bulldogs came into the match with 20-5 record overall to face an 18-7 Cardinals’ team ready to play and win.
The team huddled in preparation as Head Coach Caleb Gilley instructed them on the importance of tempo and repeatedly said, “Let’s go,” as a mantra that seemed to get the Lady Cards geared up most of the night.
Cardinals looked to senior Keri Fulp, who won most valuable player of the year, to deliver another top score and victory for the Cardinals.
Leading scorers were: Jessica Barker with seven kills; Jesse Barr with four kills; Sydney Mosley led with 18 kills; Gabi Jessup had four kills, eight digs and four blocks; Laken Bowman contributed five digs and four aces; Ashley Smith had a tremendous all around game contributing 10 kills, six digs, two aces and one block; Olivia Sheets had two kills, seven digs and three blocks; Kacie Markie had 11 kills, seven digs and three blocks; and Destiny Edmonds had three kills and five digs.
Fulp exerted her dominating presence to the opponent again with a leading all around total of 16 kills, four aces and three blocks.
Gilley said the team accomplished a major goal that he had asked of them to defeat the Lady Bulldogs.
That strategy, said Gilley, was to stop the well-known Akela Branch. Branch’s statistics rank as some of the highest in 1A competition in kills, blocks, digs and receptions. He said the team accomplished this goal by setting up the block and making her hit across the Cardinals.
“We had some good swings and good passes” and “played very balanced,” said Gilley. “Our serving was spectacular.”
The Cardinals will play Lake Norman Charter on Thursday in Charlotte. Lake Norman Charter beat North Stokes 3-1 last night to host the Cardinals in the next state playoff round.