DOBSON — Surry Community College’s volleyball team opened the season with a bang Saturday, sweeping Sandhills Community College and Danville Community College in three sets each in Dobson.
Led by powerful hitting and great passing, the Lady Knights opened with a 25-15, 25-12, 25-14 win over Sandhills, then followed it up with a 25-15, 25-8, 25-20 victory over Danville.
“Saturday was the best season opener we’ve had in a long time,” Surry volleyball coach Jan Marion-Kiser said. “I think the girls needed to play because we have practiced so much and worked on things, it was really nice to see it all come together in a game situation. They were ready to play. Sandhills is very good, always very scrappy.”
Marion-Kiser said North Surry freshman Morgan Hawks had an outstanding outing at setter against Sandhills, distributing the ball effectively to the team’s front line. Her passing allowed for some big swings for outside hitters Haley Hartman (Starmount) and Kacie Markle (East Surry).
“Both of them had really good games. They have totally different hitting styles, but both are really strong,” Marion-Kiser said. “Both got to take a lot of swings on Saturday and only made two hitting errors the entire game, which is excellent. Morgan was feeding them the ball pretty good. They both are really good defenders also.”
Jessi Marion, another East Surry product, and Sidney Shelton (South Stokes) also stepped up and had big days at middle hitter for Surry (2-0).
“Sidney swings really hard and hits the ball well. She is very strong on hits and blocks,” Marion-Kiser said. “And Jessi is very smart with the ball. She has good ball placement and knows where the hole is in the defense.”
Despite the big wins, the team needs to do a better job serving, Marion-Kiser said. But the Knights had way more positives than negatives, including the play on the right side of Kaitlin Kidd (Surry Central), who is filling in for the injured Cheyenne Kota (East Surry).
“Kaitlin is super strong and has really good reach. When she gets hold of it, she can kill the ball,” Marion-Kiser said. “She puts a really good block up and gets touches on balls to let our defense step in and make good passes to run up-tempo.”
Surry also got outstanding contributions from back row players Cassie Palmer (West Stokes) and Brittany Zeller (Starmount). Marion-Kiser chose to rest Hartman in Saturday’s second contest against Danville, forcing the team to rearrange its rotation to a lineup it had not practiced this season. Even though Danville is a first-year team, Surry’s coach was pleased with how the Knights responded with the different look.
“I commend Danville. They have done a great job of recruiting and they are very scrappy. My girls were not only having to play with a team as scrappy as we are, but I also threw us for a loop by changing the rotation. It’s nice to know we can spread it around this year and we have hitters across the board.”
Karli Bullins, a homeschooled player from Elkin, also played Saturday and got valuable experience. She adds a great serve to the team, Marion-Kiser said.
Although it’s early, Marion-Kiser loves what she’s seen so far out of the Knights.
“They are very passionate about playing and winning. I don’t feel like this is a team that will let another team get up on them very many points without trying to fight back,” she said. “These girls are focused and want to win. It’s really nice to have a set of freshmen and sophomores on the same page of wanting win a conference championship and having a chance to go to nationals.”
Allen Worrell is sports information assistant for Surry Community College.