NORWOOD — Often, there’s very little difference between two teams once they get deep into the state volleyball playoffs. A few balls in or out make the difference between winning and losing.
And so it was for Mount Airy on Saturday afternoon, when the Lady Bears dropped the first two sets of their match with South Stanly, the state’s third-ranked 1A team, 25-23, 26-24, 25-15 and ended their season with an overall record of 23-6.
The Lady Bears, who had begun their playoff run with wins over Smoky Mountain co-champions Blue Ridge Early College Academy and Hiwassee Dam, came extremely close to winning both of the first two sets but faltered in the third.
The match ended the MAHS volleyball careers of seniors Jessica Bevard, Alex Holder, Megan Fleming, Sarah Lankford and Shelbey Taylor. The senior class won 44 matches and the 2015 Northwest 1A Conference title during the last two seasons of competition with the Lady Bears.
Leading the attack for South Stanly (26-3) was 5’11” senior outside hitter Cidney Bowers, who has more than 500 kills this season and who had one of her strongest outings of the season, with 29 against Mount Airy. She and another senior for the Rowdy Rebel Bulls, Kayla Elliott, did most of the damage. Elliott had 38 assists, most of them on sets for Bowers.
Sadie Brooks led the Mount Airy attack with 17 kills. Lankford had six kills to go along with her 27 assists. Kayla Hicks led the team with seven digs, followed by Brooks with six.
South Stanly advanced to the round of eight, where it will visit Community School of Davidson today.