Salem Whittington-AlexisCaudill

SALEM WHITTINGTON knocks the ball past East Wilkes’ Alexis Caudill in the second set of West Wilkes’ 3-0 win on Tuesday evening in Ronda.

The West Wilkes Blackhawks played some of its finest volleyball of the young season in Ronda Tuesday.

West defeated the home standing East Wilkes in three-straight sets by scores of 25-12, 25-10 and 25-14 to claim its fifth win of the season and their second in Mountain Valley Athletic Conference play without a loss.

The defeat dropped the Cardinals to 1-7 overall and 0-2 in the MVAC.

West Wilkes Head Coach Steve Bryan was extremely pleased with his team’s performance. Bryan had been disappointed in recent contests with his team’s lack of blocks but a few extra drills seemed to be the cure.

“The varsity came out ready to block and pass very well tonight,” said Bryan. “From an execution standpoint this may have been the best of the year. We want to elevate the game each time we step on the court.”

The Blackhawks jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in the first set. West led 8-2 early in the set as East Wilkes managed on two side outs while West appeared to be able to place the ball exactly where they wanted it.

West continued its torrid pace and built on the lead. They closed the set on an 8-2 run to post the 25-12 final score.

“Jamesyn Bell’s setting was excellent. Brianna Lewis’ and Sophie Nichols’ passing was excellent tonight. We were hitting our spots really well tonight,” said Bryan.

The second set was almost a carbon copy of the first with West storming out to an 11-5 lead. The Blackhawks ran off six-straight points to end the second set with an impressive 25-10 final score.

East Wilkes began the third and final set in a more determined fashion, building an early 3-2 lead. The two teams played virtually even over the next portion of the set with the score tied at eight apiece.

“At times we had some good volleys and we showed a spark of potential of what team we can be,” said East Wilkes Head Kassandra Gage. “They (West) picked up everything. We weren’t in rhythm offensively but they were everywhere.”

West began to pull away, finishing on a 12-4 run to finish the match and Bryan was obviously happy afterward, especially with the team’s offense.

“Cheyenne (Clonch) was hitting her spots, she had 21 kills. Aaliyah (Mastin) had seven kills but she put the ball in places they could not get to,” said Bryan. “Carson (Ledford) had eight kills but our passing was outstanding. At the end of each set they stayed focused and kept elevating their game.”

East Wilkes showed flashes of strong play but could not sustain the effort against the taller and more aggressive Blackhawks but Gage praised the effort her team displayed.

“We are a smaller team and we are trying to work around that,” said Gage. “Aubrey Wallis moved from outside to middle this year and she battled the two great middle players West has and she kept swinging and going after it. Charity Speaks played great on the back row picking things for us.”

Both teams continued MVAC play on Thursday as the Blackhawks faced 1A power Alleghany while the Cardinals faced another 1A power in Starmount. The two Wilkes team will trade opponents on Tuesday when both will be at home against those respective teams.

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