Mustangs Stay in the Hunt
By winning three of four Yadkin Valley Conference matches recently, the North Moore volleyball team has battled back into contention for one of the five automatic state playoff berths the league receives at the end of the regular season.
However, the Lady Mustangs hit a couple of bumps this past week as they had to travel to two of the top teams in the conference, including West Montgomery, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the 1-A polls by MaxPreps.com.
The Mustangs started the week off with 3-0 win over South Davidson Monday. On the following day, North Moore hit the road to take on second place Albemarle, who is tied for second place with Gray Stone, both with three league losses. The Mustangs jumped off to a fast beginning, winning the first game 25-18. But the host Lady Bulldogs bounced back to win the next three games for a 3-1 victory.
The Mustangs hit the road again Thursday, traveling to West Montgomery, who is undefeated in conference action under first-year coach Stefanie Panzer. With a victory over North Moore, the Lady Warriors would clinch the regular season conference championship and receive the league’s No. 1 seed for the playoffs. West took care of business, sweeping the Mustangs 25-18, 25-19 and 25-11.
“We made too many unforced errors,” said North Moore coach Emily Coleman, whose team falls to 5-8 in conference play and 5-11 overall. “We need to come out and play with more confidence, and we’re working on that as a team. We have to come to play from the beginning.”
In the first game at West, the Warriors jumped to a couple of eight-point leads before a strong serving run by Alex Williams brought the Mustangs to within three points at 15-12. North Moore would narrow the Warriors’ advantage to two points on another strong serving run by sophomore Gwen Steslicke.
The Mustangs managed to stay within three to four points until West went on to close out the game with its strong net play and serving, winning 25-18.
The second game started much like the first game with the Warriors taking command early in the game. Then senior Jalisa Davis’ serving brought the Mustangs to within a 9-8 score. Once again, the Warriors’ strong front line at the net took its toll on the Mustangs as they went on to a 25-19 victory. The Warriors continued to dominate at the net in the third game for their 3-0 sweep.
Seniors Davis and Mone’ Little led the team in kills during the match with seven and five kills, respectively. Juniors Dara Forrest and Dana Wolfe finished with three kills each, while junior Williams and sophomore Kasi Martin added one kill each. Williams led the team in assists. Forrest had a pair of aces with junior Tristen Honeycutt, Williams and Davis having one kill each.
With the Warriors (13-0 YVC) wrapping up the No. 1 seed and it appears Albemarle (9-3) and Gray Stone (10-3) have secured the next two conference seeds, it becomes a battle between four teams for the other two automatic playoff berths.
North Moore (5-8), East Montgomery (6-7), Chatham Central (6-6) and South Stanly (5-7) all have a shot for the remaining two playoff spots with two weeks left in the regular season.
Two of the Mustangs’ final three matches are against teams they have beaten 3-0 earlier in the season, East Montgomery and Chatham Central. North travels to East Oct. 4 and host Chatham Central in the regular-season finale Oct. 11. The Mustangs have a match at Gray Stone Oct. 9 sandwiched between the must-win matches.
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