Starmount downs East Wilkes in three sets

By Kristian Russell - krussell@elkintribune.com

RONDA — After a slow start to the season, the Starmount volleyball team has been on a roll lately with several wins in both conference and non-conference matches. On Thursday, the Rams travelled just a few miles across the Yadkin River to take on the East Wilkes Cardinals in a Mountain Valley Athletic Conference match. The Rams were able to hold off a scrappy East Wilkes team to take a 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-17) win.

Starmount had several players shine during its match against the Cardinals, as both the front row and back row had strong moments.

In the first set, Kayla Vanhoy had seven kills, three blocks and three aces. Another strong offensive player was Elizabeth Cartwright, who put down three kills from the middle and two blocks. Maddie Norman and Emma Freed also had kills for the orange and blue in the first set.

Defensively, Cambria Bowen had digs that would make any coach proud. During one rally, Bowen made a diving dig which was perfectly passed to Abby Johnson. Johnson was able to set the ball up and Vanhoy knocked it down for a Starmount point.

Although Starmount took the win in the first set, 25-16, the beginning of the set saw the Rams struggle to maintain their momentum. The Lady Cardinals were able to capitalize on several Starmount mistakes to make the score 11-11.

Kaybree Martin was able to keep East Wilkes in the first set with a dig that went straight to her setter. Martin’s dig started the rally and Aubri Smithey was able to kill the ball for a 12-12 score. The set kept up the see-saw feel until Starmount was able to pull away after a block by Cartwright and Vanhoy. The block gave Starmount the momentum, and the Rams were able to see the set out as Norman had two kills and Vanhoy had three aces.

The second set started off in East Wilkes’ favor, but the Cardinals were not able to pull out the win. Smithey put down a tip to tie the set 1-1, then the Cardinals took the lead as Tara Shaw had a kill then Aubrey Wallis had a kill. East Wilkes had the tempo as it had a 3-1 lead over Starmount.

The Rams were able to dig out of the hole with kills by Freed and Cartwright. Starmount took the lead as Bowen had two aces, then Norman had a block, which gave the Rams a 6-5 lead. Things continued on in Starmount’s favor, with the team picking up its tempo and playing until the whistle blew. The second set was finished off with a kill by Vanhoy to give the Rams a 25-14 win and a 2-0 lead over the Cardinals.

When the third set rolled around, East Wilkes took an early lead but once again the Rams were able to push back and take the win. The Cardinals had kills and blocks from both Smithey and Corey Spicer. Wallis also had a kill for the red and black, while Monica Shaver had an ace.

Although East Wilkes had highlight-able moments, the Rams proved to be the stronger team as they came out swinging. When the final play was over, Starmount took a 25-17 win to sweep East Wilkes 3-0.

With the win, Starmount moves to 6-4 overall and 2-1 in the MVAC. East Wilkes sits at 1-7 overall and 1-2 in the MVAC.

By Kristian Russell

krussell@elkintribune.com