BOONVILLE — The Mount Airy volleyball team traveled to Boonville Saturday morning with the hopes to continue its stellar undefeated season. Starmount, on the other hand, was out to try and prevent that, and it did in thrilling fashion.
Starmount battled point-for-point with Mount Airy, handing the team its first loss of the season in game one of a doubleheader Saturday. The matchup was back and forth all game long, making it a tough task for the young team in Starmount.
“Today we cut down the number of errors and made good decisions, it obviously put ourselves in position to be competitive and win a match,” Head Coach Jon Symons said. “Which for us, and where we are right now, that helps with our kids believing we can be a good team, and we can be at that level.”
“We don’t take being young as an excuse,” said Starmount sophomore Maggie Freed, who had seven kills in the match against Mount Airy.
Ashley Johnson, the only senior, and only remaining member from the 2013 championship, struck the ball well all day, racking up 19 kills in the victory. Johnson would add 26 digs in the match as well.
“You would think 19 kills, that’s pretty good, but I still expect more of myself. I’ve got to hold myself to that higher standard,” Johnson said.
“Maggie went through a couple of games where she was struggling, and she’s really picked herself back up,” Johnson said.
Starmount jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Mount Airy came roaring back to tie it up. In the deciding set, a race to 15, the Granite Bears and Rams traded points back and forth early before the Rams made a five-point run. Mount Airy would never recover, as the Rams won 15-8 in game five to clinch the match.
“I felt like they were at our level, and we could compete with them,” freshman Kayla Vanhoy, who tallied four kills in the match, said.
Starmount handles Surry Central
Starmount followed up its win against Mount Airy with a convincing win against Surry Central that proved that they’re no fluke.
Three sets was all the Rams needed as they defeated the Surry Central Eagles 25-22, 25-17, then 25-15 for the win. Maggie Freed said their youth is not being used as an excuse, but they acted like a big reason that they won both games Saturday, and now stand at 6-6, 3-2 MVAC.
Freed, along with freshman Kayla Vanhoy and sophomore Chloe Ford, combined for 18 kills against Surry Central. Vanhoy has improved her game dramatically over the past couple of weeks, and part of it she says is because her team’s support has helped nervousness go away.
“In the first few games I was nervous because I felt like everybody was counting on me to impress them but my team had my back. I’m not nervous anymore,” Vanhoy said.
Ford was coming off of a big game where she had three blocks and four kills against Mount Airy. She followed that up with six kills.
“We have to have momentum to keep going. We can’t let… one point happen and we all get down,” Ford said.
Ashley Johnson also came up big for the second-straight match with 11 kills, good for 30 on the day.
“We try to get to Ashley as much as possible because she’s got the biggest armswing on the team,” Ford said.
Johnson is humble when it comes to personal stats and said she holds herself to a higher standard. On the same token, she is holding the team to a higher standard, with one goal for the end of the year.
“It would be a great feeling to get back to state this year,” Johnson said. “I really want them to see how important it is to work hard and to reach our full potential as a team, and I think we can.”
Starmount’s next eight matches are conference matchups. They host Wilkes Central Tuesday before traveling to East Wilkes on Thursday. Both games are scheduled to start at 4:30.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.