Sparked by a milestone assist from Karlie Anderson, the Wilkes Central varsity volleyball team swept North Wilkes on Thursday to even its record in the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Athletic Conference.
Anderson, a senior setter, recorded her 1,000th career assist in the second set of the game and the Eagles (1-1) rolled to a 25-16, 25-20, 25-19 win over the Vikings (1-1) in Moravian Falls.
“We are very proud of Karlie and her dedicated and hard work ethic over the years,” said Karlie’s father, Kevin Anderson, also the Central coach. “She really enjoys volleyball and we are thankful for all our athletes that we are even able to play during these times.”
Coach Anderson said that Karlie wished to “thank God for her ability to play, all her passers and hitters over the past four years, and her family and coaches for all their support, including trainers Erin Susi and Natalie Tribble.”
Anderson said that North, coming off a four-set win over in-county rival East Wilkes on Nov. 17, was motivated for another in-county victory. “We had to match their intensity, and I feel like we did. Our girls played all aspects really well.”
In the third set, North had a 19-17 lead until Central went on a late run with Jacklyn Richardson serving. “I knew North would not quit, and we had to continue to do the things we were doing well at the time.”
Anderson said that North Coach Samantha Smith “does a great job with her team and she has some very talented players, but I think when we defend, serve, pass, set and hit with accuracy like we did, we are a really good team and can be a threat within the conference.”
On the night, Anderson paced Central with 12 assists and three serving aces. Among other team leaders, Zoe Mathis had eight kills, Olivia Rush recorded three blocks and Riley Johnson had 15 digs.
The game was the first contested at Wilkes Central under new state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions. Only 25 spectators were allowed in the gym, and each had to pass a temperature scanner before entering. Everyone in the gym had to wear a mask during the contest.
In the other inter-county matchup on Thursday, West Wilkes moved to 2-0 on the season with a 25-7, 25-8, 25-6 victory over East Wilkes in Millers Creek. The Cardinals fell to 0-2.
“Overall, our serve was on and the big girls hit the ball very hard,” said West Coach Steve Bryan. “The girls did not allow many balls to hit the floor. We played very well defensively.”
Cheyenne Clonch paced the Blackhawks with 15 kills and four blocks. Carson Ledford chipped in with 11 kills.
Katie Nichols had seven aces and tied Sophie Nichols for the team lead with six digs. Jamesyn Bell led the way with 30 assists for West.
On Nov. 17, West Wilkes swept visiting Wilkes Central in three sets, 25-7, 25-18 and 25-10. It was the season opener for both clubs in Millers Creek.
Clonch led West with 20 kills and four blocks. Bell paced the club with 35 assists and seven aces. Sophie Nichols had eight digs for the Blackhawks.
Anderson led the Eagles with three aces and 12 assists. Johnson had a team-high 15 digs and Anderson chipped in with 14. Mathis added a team-best eight kills.
In another season opener on Nov. 17, North Wilkes defeated homestanding East Wilkes in four sets, sweeping the last two sets in Ronda.
Viking Coach Smith said, “Overall I thought our entire team played well. I was really impressed with how well our back row did. Our communication wasn’t the best during the second set, but I thought we came back in the third and fourth and communicated well.”
Smith praised the serving of Bri Miller and Stacie Shumate and added, “I was proud of how well the girls played after losing the second set. They finished the fourth set very well.”