Surry Knights split with pair of NCAA D-III volleyball teams

Surry Community College’s volleyball team challenged itself by taking on two NCAA Division III schools Saturday in the Greensboro College Invitational. The Lady Knights couldn’t have asked for much better results as they defeated Ferrum College and took Greensboro to five sets before falling in an epic contest.

SCC opened the invitational that morning by defeating Ferrum 23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 before losing a heartbreaker 25-20, 40-42, 13-25, 25-19, 8-15 to Greensboro. Despite the loss, Surry (3-1) learned a lot about itself and left feeling optimistic about the rest of the season.

“I was really proud of my team because playing those NCAA teams make us step up and play at a higher level,” Surry head coach Jan Marion-Kiser said. “They are D-III schools and they have juniors and seniors, four-year players with great leadership on the floor. Our freshmen and sophomores stacked up well against that, and to have eight freshmen on the team, my girls have that mentality of they didn’t give up. And that is what I wanted to see, if we could come from behind and could we push back and dig out of holes, and we did.”

Setter Katie Moncus again had a huge day, leading the Knights with 31 assists against Ferrum and getting all of Surry’s hitters involved. Sophomore Kenly Burchette had 13 kills and seven digs for the Knights and Anika Thomas had 16 digs and 13 kills.

“Both of them stepped up and played huge for us and showed some leadership on the floor,” Marion-Kiser said.

Lexia Wingler contributed seven kills in the win, Lauren Charleville and Lexie Hartle both had four, while Kallie Blackburn chipped in two kills. Bryce Smith led the Knights with 20 digs, Moncus added 13 and Mandy Hamrick tallied 10 digs.

“It was just a solid effort. When you see Katie having 31 assists and our hitters all contributing and getting stats on the board, our hitters are being smart and taking care of the ball,” Marion-Kiser said. “Bryce and Anika held down the back row for us  along with Mandy Hamrick.”

After taking the first set 25-20 over Greensboro, the Knights fell 42-40 in an epic second set. It set the stage for what would be an epic five-set battle with the Pride.

“It was one the best matches I have seen in a long time. It went five sets and we saw a lot of girls contribute to push us to five sets,” Marion-Kiser said. “Greensboro has a great team. Set two set the tone for this match. It was a set of nobody wanting to lose and everybody giving everything they had. Both teams played phenomenal. It was probably one of the best sets of volleyball I have seen in a long time.”

Moncus again had a huge contest, leading Surry with 29 assists to go along with 13 digs, two kills and an ace. She set the tone for the Knights hustling and running the floor Marion-Kiser said, as well as distributing the ball to all of SCC’s hitters. Charleville and Thomas each had 11 kills, Burchette added six, Wingler had five, Hartle contributed three and Blackburn added one.  Thomas paced Surry with 28 digs and Smith added 21 digs.

“The girls played four sets with Ferrum and then five sets against Greensboro that were more like six sets with the long second set. I was surprised at how well we measured up against both teams,” Marion-Kiser said. “Nobody likes to lose, but after watching that game, there is not one thing I would do different. It will really help us for the upcoming season to prepare for us for the big games in Region X. I think my girls will remember that loss because it’s a feeling I don’t think they want to have again.”

Surry will be back in action Tuesday, Sept. 5 against Bryant and Stratton College at 7 p.m. in Dobson.

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