WALKERTOWN — As many expected before the season, the race for the 2016 Northwest 1A Conference volleyball title is down to just two teams.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Mount Airy and East Surry have separated themselves from the pack, with each team sporting just one defeat in league action.
The Lady Bears did their part on Thursday evening, eviscerating Walkertown 25-8, 25-7, 25-6 to improve to 14-2 overall and 7-1 in conference play. Mount Airy trails East Surry by a half-game in the standings, but only by virtue of the Lady Cardinals (16-3, 8-1) being one match further along in their league slate.
Against the Wolfpack (4-13, 2-7), every player on the roster saw significant playing time. The team played a very solid floor game, with zero ball-handling errors and serve receive and only five attack errors. The only area of concern might have been in the serving department, where the Lady Bears gave Walkertown 10 of the 21 points it scored by way of bad serves.
Senior Sarah Lankford was a perfect 47-for-47 on ball-handling attempts and was credited with 18 assists. The beneficiary of most of them was junior Sadie Brooks, who led everyone with eight kills. Lankford and Madeline Mayfield were next up, with three kills each. Reserves Alex Holder and Lianna Beckham took advantage of playing time by collecting two kills each in their one set of action, while starter Arry Ward also had two kills. Mount Airy had nine aces as a team, with Lankford and Brooks each serving up a pair of them.
The Wolfpack wasn’t able to muster much of an attack and the Lady Bears had just 19 digs as a team. Lankford had four of them to lead the team, followed by Kayla Hicks and Shelbey Taylor with three each.
Mount Airy is already long assured of a state playoff berth, but the next 11 days will determine where and when they will go once they arrive at postseason play. The Lady Bears’ next two matches are on Oct. 4 and 6, at North Stokes and then at home against Bishop McGuinness, the third- and fourth-place teams in the league. On Oct. 8, Mount Airy hosts the Rivals United showcase and will play Surry Central and North Surry. Then, on the 11th, East Surry comes to town for a match that will likely decide the outright conference title.