VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS: Four Stanly teams post first-round wins
Published 4:40 pm Monday, October 23, 2023
In the opening round of the NCHSAA state volleyball playoffs Saturday, four Stanly squads came away with victories.
North Stanly 3, East Burke 0
The 2023 volleyball season for the No. 4 seeded Comets has been one of the most successful in the school’s history.
Along with Saturday’s three-set win with scores of 25-9, 25-9 and 25-7, the Comets have won 30 straight sets. The team has not lost a set since the team’s 3-1 road win Sept. 26 at Union Academy.
North’s win Saturday was the team’s 23rd straight win as the Comets have won 78 sets and only lost eight all season long.
Yadkin Valley Conference Player of the Year Shalyn Bell led North (26-1) with 19 kills on 23 attempts along with three services aces.
Aniston Talbert added seven kills, three aces and two total blocks, while Kylie Speight added to her 1,000-plus career assist total with 34 in the win.
“We are definitely blessed with some great players, a lot of talent,” YVC Coach of the Year Daniel Galloway said.
Galloway, who graduated from North in 2009, noted Bell has led the state in kills for the majority of the season. He also credited the play of Talbert at middle blocker.
“When we are in a gym, more times than not, we have the two best hitters in the gym,” Galloway said.
The North coach also credited freshman libero Landon Kimrey, saying “she has played amazing for us.” Kimrey led North with seven digs in Saturday’s win.
North Stanly hosts No. 13 North Wilkes (21-4) Tuesday night. The Vikings advanced with a 3-0 win at Bandys.
West Stanly 3, Lexington 0
The Colts, winners of the Rocky River Conference regular season and tournament titles, entered the 2A West Region as a No. 6 seed and won in straight sets versus the No. 25 Lexington Yellow Jackets (15-8). Scores of the match were 25-11, 25-18 and 25-15.
Junior Addi Barbee led West (21-6) with 11 kills while Stella Bondurant added 10. Rory Huneycutt led the Colts with four total blocks with Saylor Edwards and Payton Watson adding two blocks each.
Barbee also led West with 12 digs, and sophomore Scarlet Griffin paced the offense with 20 assists.
West will host No. 22 Surry Central (12-12) Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles advanced with a five-set win at No. 11 Pine Lake Prep.
Gray Stone 3, South Stokes 0
The Knights, who finished second in the YVC and earned the top 1A seed out of the split conference, entered the 1A West Region as the No. 7 seed.
Hosting the 26-seeded South Stokes Sauras (10-13) Saturday, Gray Stone earned a 3-0 win with scores of 25-23, 25-10 and 25-23.
Aniston Belk led Gray Stone (17-6) with 16 kills while Elizabeth Bryson added 13 kills and Zoee Mauldin had eight kills. Belk and Bryson each had three blocks while junior Ella Huneycutt led the Knights with 13 digs. Senior Hailey Dry drove the Knights’ offense with 39 assists.
Gray Stone will host No. 10 Alleghany (19-6) Tuesday night. The Trojans advanced with a three-set sweep at home versus No. 23 Mountain Heritage.
South Stanly 3, Piedmont Comm. Charter 2
The 25th seeded Rebel Bulls, who finished fourth in the YVC regular-season standings, went on the road Saturday and beat the No. 8 ranked Patriots (19-4) in five sets.
Scores of the match were 20-25, 20-25, 25-20, 29-27 and 15-12 in favor of the Rebel Bulls (9-15).
South Stanly will travel Tuesday night to No. 9 Rosman (17-4). The Tigers advanced with a three-set win versus No. 24 Hayesville.