As expected, three local volleyball teams earned first-round home matches in today’s opening round of the NCHSAA state volleyball playoffs.
Northwest 1A Conference champion East Surry (22-4) and runner-up Mount Airy (21-5) both drew very high seeds for the tournament, and both will be at home for the opening round. The Lady Cardinals are the third seed in the West and will host Highland School of Technology (9-12) this evening. East Surry is guaranteed to be at home for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Mount Airy, one of the highest-seeded teams not to win its conference, is in a separate quadrant from the Lady Cardinals and can only meet East Surry again if both teams reach the elite eight of the tournament. The Lady Bears will host Blue Ridge Early College (9-8), the co-champion of the four-team Smoky Mountain 1A, this evening. Mount Airy is guaranteed just one home playoff match as the fifth seed, but could earn more, depending on what happens in other matches in its draw. If Mount Airy wins its opening-round match, it may actually travel to the other SMC co-champ, Hiwassee Dam, which is the fourth seed, in the second round.
The Lady Cardinals’ opening-round foe, Highland Tech, finished fifth in the Southern Piedmont 1A this season.
North Surry, like East Surry, earned a No. 3 seed in its bracket after a conference championship season. The Lady Hounds are the No. 3 seed in the 2A West and will face 14th-seeded East Rutherford (10-10) in their opening round match. The Lady Cavaliers finished sixth in the very strong South Mountain Athletic 2A/3A league, but placed second among the 2A teams in that conference.
North Surry is also guaranteed a second-round home match if it defeats East Rutherford. The Lady Hounds (22-4) will host either Mountain Heritage or Western Piedmont Athletic Conference rival South Stokes, who qualified for the tournament as an at-large team with the 11th overall seed. West Stokes also made the field out of the WPAC, but is the ninth seed and in another quadrant of the West Regional, and so could only meet North again if both teams made the elite eight. The only other team from the conference in the draw, Forbush, is the eighth seed in the other West group of 16 teams and could only meet North Surry again in the semifinals.
Because of the bad weather in the Eastern part of the state recently, the schedule for the volleyball playoffs has been compressed by the NCHSAA, and second-round matches will be played on Thursday, with third-round matches following on Saturday. Visit www.nchsaa.org/sports/volleyball to view the full brackets.