DOBSON — North Surry volleyball coach Shane Slate didn’t compile one of the most impressive records in the state by being anything but a perfectionist.
The longtime mentor of the Lady Greyhounds got the outcome he wanted on Tuesday afternoon, a straight-set victory over county rival Surry Central, but he wasn’t as pleased with the process that led to that victory.
“We played a really good first set, kept a lot of pressure on them, but we were really flatfooted in the second and third sets,” said Slate. “We didn’t get enough balls into the system to where we could be aggressive offensively. We missed too many serves and we didn’t pass well.”
North Surry, the state’s seventh-ranked 2A team according to MaxPreps.com, won its second Western Piedmont Athletic Conference match in as many tries, downing the host Lady Eagles 25-8, 25-18, 25-17. The Lady Hounds (9-4, 2-0 WPAC) received some challenges from Central in the second and third sets, but the final outcome was never in doubt.
The visitors scored the first four points of the match before finally losing one on an unforced error, then completely dominated play for the next few minutes, taking a 14-3 lead before Lady Eagle coach Carrie Bruce called a time-out. Her team won the next point, but then North Surry reeled off five more in a row and forced her to call time again. Central improved its play after that, but with a 19-4 deficit, there was no stopping the Lady Hounds from wrapping up what became a 17-point victory in set one.
In set two, the Lady Eagles came to play, and Slate felt like his own team started playing out of system. When Sarah Ford made a block early on, Central led 4-2 and its coach exuberantly said “we can actually play ball now!” The Lady Eagles won two of the next three points and all of a sudden, it was Slate who was using a time-out.
North Surry soon settled down and reeled off seven straight points, helped by some bad luck for the home team (a Taylor Coe kill attempt that went inches out of bounds) and some strong serving from Kaylee Freed that included an ace. Once the Lady Hounds got the lead, they never gave it back, although Coe got on a roll and had two kills and a service ace to keep her team in the set. Leading 20-15, Martha Holt served an ace and Bruce called timeout. Her team stopped the run and Ema Coe stepped up with an ace of her own before bad luck again vexed Central in the form of a ball that ricocheted off a beam on the roof and couldn’t be handled. From there, North cruised to a 25-18 set win.
In set three, the Lady Eagles again got the better of play early on, taking their biggest lead at 15-12 after an ace by Brooke Snow. After the teams split the next four points, North Surry regained possession and sent Paige Sizemore to the back line to serve. She served out the match, which ended with the Lady Hounds on an 11-0 run. Two of Sizemore’s 10 successful serves on the closing run were aces, including the last point of the match.
Whitney Hall led North with 10 kills, followed by Mikaela Johnson with seven and Holt and Freed with six each. Dixie Fulk had 30 assists and Johnson led with three blocks. However, the team had just five digs for the entire match and committed 10 service errors, neither of which pleased their coach.
North will host South Stokes on Thursday, while Surry Central will host Forbush that evening.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.