• 54°

Prep Volleyball: South continues surge with tournament win

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

LANDIS — Excitement is starting to return to the football field at South Rowan.

In the gym? Well, it’s actually been going fine there for a while. South’s volleyball team stood 5-5 on Sept. 5, but now the Raiders are 18-6. That’s 13 out of 14.

Win No. 18 came on Monday, with third-seeded South easily handling sixth-seeded Central Davidson 25-12, 25-16 and 25-10 in the opening round of the 2A Central Carolina Conference Tournament.

“This new conference has been really good for us, good for our confidence,” South senior libero Jenna Strickland said. “The last few years, we’re taking on teams like Cox Mill, Carson, Hickory Ridge, and you know it’s going to be hard. Now we’re in a league that has very good teams (notably Ledford and West Davidson), but we believe we can beat anyone.”

South coach Jenna Horne has things in perspective. She understands this is not a great team — South was swept by Carson and West Rowan early in the season — but the Raiders are good, the third-best team in the county.

“Our league this year is not as good as the one we were in last year,” Horne said. “Still, it feels great to win. And when our girls are playing with spirit and having fun, we are a very good team.”

Sophomore Kira Rymer is South’s best all-around player, an automatic kill when the Raiders can set it for her. Rymer is one of South’s leaders in every statistical category except assists.

“Kira was our setter last year, but I told her this year we really needed her to hit,” Horne said. “Our kills are coming from the middle, from Kira and Janiya (Downs). Every team knows that’s where we’re going, but those two are still very hard to stop.”

The long, springy Downs, one of the best basketball players in school history, is a junior. She has 351 kills for the season after getting 14 more against Central Davidson’s Spartans. Rymer had 15 kills in Monday’s match and has 318 for the season.

“They’re go-to girls, for sure, and we’re going to them every chance we get,” Strickland said. “If we can get it to them, it’s going down.”

It went down a lot in Monday’s first set, with Rimer and Downs pounding six kills each. Michaela Hallman, a sophomore, does a good job setting for them. She had 24 assists on Monday and has 550 for the season. She averages almost 7 assists per set.

South started slowly and led only 8-7, but after Horne took a timeout for some motivating words, the Raiders immediately got a kill from Rymer. South quickly pushed out to a 16-8 lead and cruised from there.

South trailed 5-2 in the second set before Horne took an early timeout. Central hung in for a while, and it was 12-12, but then South got on a roll. Anna Blume had two saves, while Strickland made several nice digs. Rymer smashed a vicious 25th point that nearly pancaked an unfortunate defender.

“Coach wants us to come out and jump on everyone and she gets on us a little bit when we don’t,” Downs said. “You never know with us. We have our good days and we have our bad days, but we were mostly good today.”

In the third set, Hallman was on target, and Rymer and Downs combined for nine kills. Rymer also had two aces. South led all the way, romping 4-0, building to 11-3 and expanding to 18-6.

“Our defense was on,” said Strickland, who had 13 digs. “And when that happens, we’re pretty good.”

Katelyn Goodman contributed three aces for South.

South plays second-seeded West Davidson today in a semifinal on West Davidson’s floor at about 7 p.m. That game will be the nightcap of a doubleheader, following the Ledford-North Davidson matchup.

South split the season series with the Green Dragons. West Davidson won the first meeting, but South took the rematch.

“Our weakest point is usually serve-receive, and West Davidson serves very well,” Horne said. “So it’s a challenging matchup. But we’ve beaten them once, and that was in three straight games.”

The West Davidson-South winner will battle the Ledford-North Davidson survivor in Wednesday’s championship game at West Davidson.

Comments

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training