BOONVILLE — Starmount’s volleyball program came into this season for the most part young and inexperienced. However, looking at their performance Tuesday night, it seems like things are finally starting to click for the Rams.
The Rams dominated Ashe County in straight sets (25-15, 25-12, 25-18), and the reason why really came down to one category in particular which they’ve improved on dramatically over the season.
“I thought we did good on defense, we picked up a lot of balls. We have some good offense, but one of the things we have to be, especially in the weeks coming is better defensively,” Head Coach Jon Symons said.
The team has improved defensively, and it shows that they’re working on quickness in transition. Sophomore Maggie Freed had 19 digs, but the number itself wasn’t as important as some of the digs by the entire team. Ashe County had some great spikes, and a few times were about ready to celebrate a point, but players like Freed, and libero Lindsey St. John would pop out of nowhere to keep the play alive. Once the digs were there, it gave freshman Kayla Vanhoy and sophomore Anna Pardue the opportunity to set up for some big kills.
“We have to play defense, because we’re not the biggest team out there,” freshman Kayla Vanhoy said.
Vanhoy and Pardue combined for 28 assists on the night, with Starmount’s lone senior Ashley Johnson leading the way in kills with 15. Like Freed, Johnson also has seen huge improvements from the whole team.
“At the beginning of the season, I knew that we would have to work really hard and I knew we’d be a young team, and I understand that we’re still young, but we’ve come a long ways so I’m really proud of them,” Johnson said.
“We have improved a lot,” Freed said. “We have this drive in us that we don’t take being young for an answer. We’re second behind Alleghany, and we’re going for first place. We want to make this the best possible season for Ashley, and for us as a team.”
Starmount played Elkin on Thursday night (results pending at press time), but looking a bit father ahead, they’ve got a challenge on their hands in the coming weeks with a rematch against Alleghany, followed by Wilkes Central, Carson, and Reagan.
“You see the improvement defensively, now it’s just being mature enough to carry that over to the next match and let that build,” Symons said. “We have a very difficult three game stretch coming up, but we’re preparing ourself for it and it’s going to make us better for the state playoffs.”
Following Senior Night Oct. 20 against East Wilkes, the Rams are hopeful that they’ll get to make another return to the state tournament. Their current record helps, but it still will be a tough road to get there. If their championship banners say anything about coming up big in the heat of the moment, this team’s future looks bright.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.