South Stokes had two reasons to celebrate in their annual Dig for the Cure game. The Lady Sauras pulled out a five set win against conference opponent Surry Central and raised over $1,000 to go towards a Saura family battling cancer.
“It’s hard to find a person who hasn’t been affected by cancer, so we wanted to do something to help those struggling with this disease,” said head coach Doug Balser.
Each of his players participated in making the night a success and helped raised money for the cause.
“The parents also played a big role. All of our parents were critically important because not only did they come out to support the event, but they also worked hard behind the scenes to make sure everything was in place,” Balser said.
The coach credited Olivia Morris for coordinating the night and raising excitement weeks ahead.
“The event wouldn’t be even half as successful without all of her hard work and effort.”
Senior Taylor Moulton helped secure the Saura win. She set a new South Stokes school record for 30 kills and also added 32 digs, six assists, and two blocks.
“When the team needed a play, she just always seemed to be there,” Balser said. “Surry Central is a tough team, so pulling out that victory was definitely special. The win put us in place for a good seed in the state playoffs.”
Along with Moulton, senior setter Samantha Williams finished with a school record of 45 assists in a single match.
Freshman Lilly Weaver added 14 kills and led the team with 20 service points. Maggie Joyce finished with seven kills and three blocks. The back row also stepped up with Mary Weaver contributing 23 digs, Katie Manring 14, and Weaver 15.
Impressive stats aside, the coach hopes his players take a greater lesson from the experience lasting far beyond the season.
“At some point, each of these girls’ volleyball careers will come to an end, but they never have to stop caring for and helping others,” he said.
Sauras defeat West Stokes
The Lady Sauras continued to dominate the next night in a three set win against West Stokes, 25-22, 25-17, 25-13.
“We’re playing with a lot more confidence right now. A lot of that started at the first West game, where we came back from a two set deficit. Since then, the girls have been playing with a belief that they can overcome just about anything,” Balser said.
South’s blockers did their job shutting down Wests’ hitters.
Hope Cooper recorded four blocks while Moulton added two more blocks. For the balls that got past the blockers, Weaver and Manring were there to dig up the ball. The two combined for 20 digs.
“This was a real team oriented win. Each girl knew her role and did a great job excelling. Our defense was really solid,” Balser said.
Moulton led the offense with 10 kills, including match point. Weaver recorded six kills and Williams added five.
Before the match began the team recognized Williams and Moulton on senior night.
“It’s bittersweet. You want to celebrate the seniors for all that they have accomplished, but in so doing you’re also having to say goodbye to them as well,” Balser said. “Players like Taylor and Sam can’t be replaced. Over their four years, they’ve added so much to our program like commitment, dedication, and passion. Their on court play has always been strong, but it is their leadership that will be missed the most.”
At this point in the season the coach believes each of his players have shown individual improvements, and as a team they’re more consistent.
“We’ve really focused on aggressive play, without a lot of unforced errors. We want to make our opponents earn their points. We don’t give away points like we did earlier in the season,” he said.
The team is preparing to compete in the WPAC tournament on Oct. 19.
“We’re in a very strong conference. There will easily be four or five teams competing in the state tournament so we know that each of the games in the conference tournament will be difficult. Our girls will continue to work hard at practice to make sure our fundamentals are to the level we need to compete. As long as we keep our mental game positive, we could do some good things in the tournament.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at (336) 813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.