Several Knights put up huge stats Friday, but the only one that mattered was Surry Community College’s dramatic five-set victory over Lenoir Community College in the Region X Volleyball Tournament in Winterville.
Kaitlin Kidd narrowly missed a triple double, recording 35 assists, 16 digs and nine kills, while freshman Morgan Hawks recorded 40 digs. While that was great, the most important thing was SCC (25-8) broke its string of five-set losses with a bang, winning 25-22, 25-20, 24-26, 17-25, 18-16 to set up a 10 a.m. showdown Saturday morning with No. 1 seed Catawba Valley Community College.
“This is the kind of game that has been a heartbreaker for us all year. We would get to that fifth set and never could quite finish, so it was nerve-racking,” Surry volleyball coach Jan Marion-Kiser said. “It was point-for-point, back-and-forth to the end. It was nice to see us hit our serves and have girls laying out for balls, playing great defense to keep us alive.”
Cassie Palmer paced the Knights with five aces to go along with 20 digs, while Haley Hartman had 10 kills and 28 digs and Kacie Markle added 10 kills and five digs. Sidney Shelton chipped in eight kills and Jessi Marion had four kills and four solo blocks. Brittany Zeller contributed nine digs and Cheynne Kota tossed in six kills.
“Our sophomores really stepped up and played big. Before the game they were talking about they didn’t want to be one-and-done and go home early, so for us to get the win and still be around to play tomorrow, I am more than pleased with them,” Marion-Kiser said. “I could single out several players that played awesome, but in the same respect it was everybody working together and playing together. We kind of fell apart in third and fourth set, but in set five they pulled together and played harder than I have seen them play all season.”
Marion-Kiser credited Palmer for having a huge day serving, while Hartman and Markle were strong on the outside. In particular, Kidd was a major factor for the Knights.
“We transitioned her back to setting and she came in and did an awesome job. With her as tall as she is, moving her to setter gives us a bigger block at the net,” Marion-Kiser said. “And to have nine kills and 16 digs to boot, that’s a pretty good day. We told the girls all season we needed to break the bad mojo of being able to break through in five sets. We picked the right time to do it and I am super proud of them.”
The Knights hope to keep that momentum going Saturday at 10 a.m. against top-seed Catawba Valley. The second semifinal will take place at noon, with the winners playing in the championship 30 minutes after the second semifinal. All games will be played at Pitt Community College.