The West Wilkes varsity volleyball team swept North Wilkes on Jan. 6 to complete its second straight undefeated season in Mountain Valley 1A/2A Athletic Conference play.

The Blackhawks cruised to a 25-9, 25-7 and 25-4 win in Millers Creek to finish 14-0 in league play. Over the past three years, West is 41-1 in MVAC matchups.

“I’m so proud of all the girls,” said West Coach Steve Bryan. “This game gave me a chance to play everyone and honor my seniors.”

Senior Cheyenne Clonch and junior Carson Ledford each recorded 12 kills for West. Clonch also had five service aces and Ledford blocked three kill attempts.

A block and back-to-back aces by Ledford closed out the first set, and the game ended on a thunderous kill and service ace from Clonch.

Other senior leaders were Jamesyn Bell (30 assists), Gracie Lambert (19 serves received) and Sophie Nichols (eight digs).

“It was a great senior night,” said Bryan, who noted the group of four has amassed a combined junior varsity and varsity record of 71-1.

Third-seeded West hosted #13 Maiden (11-3) in the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs on Tuesday. Those game results will be in the Jan. 20 edition of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.

West is one of five unbeaten teams among the 16 squads in in the 2A West brackets. There are five more undefeated schools in the 2A East brackets.

Eagles upend Cardinals

Wilkes Central posted a 25-19, 25-12, 25-15 victory over East Wilkes in Ronda on Jan. 6.

With the sweep, the 6-7 Eagles remained in a fourth-place tie with Ashe County in the MVAC standings. With the loss on senior night, the Cardinals finished the season at 1-13.

In the first set, a tip-over by East’s Madison Carter gave her club a 15-12 lead and prompted a Central timeout. But the Eagles got twin kills from senior Jacklyn Richardson and an ace from Riley Johnson to knot the score and force an East timeout.

Central closed out the first set with a kill by Payton McManus off a Karlie Anderson assist—one of her game-high 36—and an East spike attempt that went long.

Central junior Zoe Mathis led the way with 22 kills, while Richardson chipped in with 16. McManus and Olivia Rush each had four blocks. Johnson led the Eagles with 15 digs.

Senior Monica Shaver led East with eight kills, 23 digs and 20 serves received. Sophomores Briley Church and Hailey Edwards had eight assists and four blocks, respectively.

North wins thriller

North Wilkes ended its season with a five-set upset of Central in Hays on Thursday.

The Vikings prevailed 22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 10-25 and 15-11 to finish seventh (3-11) in the MVAC. The Eagles compiled a final record of 6-8, good for a fourth-place tie with Ashe County.

“It was great to end the season with a win,” said Samantha Smith, North’s coach. “I am so proud of the girls and their effort tonight. All 12 of them played as hard as they could have played, and we couldn’t have won without all of them.”

In the deciding fifth set, Richardson’s third kill of the set—off an Anderson assist—cut the North lead to 14-11. North senior Shelby Roal made the game-ending kill off an assist from senior Hannah Rhoades. In the third attempt to return Roal’s spike, Central mishit the ball into its own net to end the game.

“Central played hard and fought to the very end,” Smith said. “They killed us in the fourth set, and we had to mentally come back from that in the fifth. I was proud of how the girls responded and didn’t give up.”

Smith said that Roal and senior Stacie Shumate combined for 26 kills. “I am really happy for our seniors; they have worked hard. They hit the ball really well.”

Seniors McKenzie Johnson, Caitlin Laws and Makayla Cornelius and sophomore Kate Brown “did a lot of really good things at the net,” said Smith. “They made good decisions and did a good job of getting to tips.”

Smith indicated that Rhoades and junior Riley Barrier set the ball well and gave the hitters opportunities to score. “Our back row also did a phenomenal job. Mary (Cothren), Kelly (Casstevens, a senior), Hannah Johnson and (senior) Bri (Miller) dug up balls throughout the entire game.

“Central has several good servers, and they handled their serves well. It was definitely a team win, and I am happy for them to end their season this way.”

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