• 50°

South Stanly volleyball outlasts Gray Stone in five sets

Having surpassed the midway point of the Yadkin Valley Conference regular-season schedule, the South Stanly Rebel Bulls volleyball team took to its home court Thursday hosting Gray Stone. The Bulls needed a win to stay two games out of first place and one out of second.

South Stanly’s Sidney McSwain goes for the solo block on a Gray Stone player during the second set of Thursday’s five-set match. (Photo by Charles Curcio)

The Knights’ entered Thursday’s match sitting in the middle of the YVC standings in fifth place, a game behind Uwharrie Charter.

The two teams battled back and forth, trading sets until a late serving run by one of South’s standouts lifted the hosts to a five-set win.

Scores of the match were 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 12-25 and 15-10 in favor of the Bulls (10-3, 7-2 YVC).

For the Knights, Mattie Burris led the way with 16 kills and four blocks while Christen Clontz and Karlie Griffin each had 14 kills. Griffin added nine digs and Madison Hatley had 43 assists.

South took an early 8-5 lead in the first set but Gray Stone (4-6, 4-5) battled back into a 14-14 tie on a tip kill from Margaret Huckabee.

The set was tied three additional times in the final moments, at 17, 19 and 21, until South got kills from McSwain and Hinson to win the first set by three points.

Serving from Gray Stone helped the Knights build an early lead in the second set. Aces from Christen Clontz early were part of a 7-3 run for the visitors.

The Bulls got within a single point midway through the set then eventually tied the set, 19-19, on a Hinson kill. South led 22-20 on an Adison Campbell ace but the Knights got kills from 12 and 24 scoring five of the last seven points to even the match, 1-1.

South bounced back in the third set with a 6-2 run, getting kills from McSwain and Hinson off of Gray Stone blocks. Karlie Griffin got the Knights within three points with a kill, 9-6, but South continued to widen the lead. Kills by Emma Lemmons and McSwain put the Bulls up 16-10.

Gray Stone called a timeout down 20-15 but got no closer than five points, with the Bulls eventually winning by seven points after a Knights’ kill attempt went long.

South Stanly’s Mattie Hinson goes for a tip over a Gray Stone blocker in Thursday’s match. (Photo by Charles Curcio)

After a slight delay to start the fourth set, Gray Stone grabbed the momentum immediately, scoring 13 of the first 14 points in the set and forcing South to call both timeouts in the run. The Knights forced a deciding fifth set, winning the fourth by 13 points.

In the final set, the teams split the first six points before a Burris tip helped the Knights build a 7-4 lead, forcing a South timeout.

The Bulls scored the next two points in a row, with the Knights calling timeout. With Hinson serving, South rallied past Gray Stone to retake the lead with a 6-0 run including an ace.

Leading 13-10, a long point went to South when Faulkner’s kill attempt was mishandled by the Knights. Faulkner then served an ace to clinch the match.

“Mattie stepped up. She didn’t just put the ball in play, she moved it around. It’s one thing to put the ball in play, but in crunch time, down 7-4, you have to get creative,” South head coach Eric Laskowski said.

The Bulls coach said the win “definitely puts us in control of our own destiny. Had we lost, it would have made (winning) a conference title difficult.”

South Stanly has two road YVC matchups coming up, playing at Uwharrie Charter Tuesday and South Davidson Thursday. The Bulls also have a non-conference home matchup between those road games when South Stanly hosts Anson County Wednesday.

Gray Stone plays three matches, traveling Tuesday to South Davidson, hosting West Montgomery Wednesday and a non-conference match with Covenant Classical Thursday.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

email author More by Charles