Surry volleyball raises awareness for breast cancer, beats pair of Division III teams

The Surry Community College volleyball team not only picked up a big Region X victory while playing in the 8th annual Dig Pink game Thursday, the team also helped raise awareness for breast cancer in a three-set win over Louisburg College.

It’s been a big week for Surry Community College’s volleyball team as the Knights not only raised awareness for breast cancer, but also went up in weight class to defeat a pair of NCAA Division III teams.

On Thursday, SCC picked up a big Region X victory while playing in the 8th annual Dig Pink game to help raise awareness for breast cancer. Surry swept Louisburg College 25-17, 25-12, 25-14 to improve to 14-8 overall and 10-3 in Region X. Then on Saturday, the Knights earned a pair of monumental victories for the program, defeating Division III schools Randolph College and Salem College.

"We had an outstanding effort from everyone," Surry head coach Jan Marion-Kiser said of the win over Louisburg. "Our Dig Pink game is a wonderful way to promote breast cancer awareness and honor cancer survivors in our community. It always brings a lot of excitement and energy."  

Freshman Anika Thomas led Surry with a game-high 21 digs, while McKenzie Wood paced the team with 27 assists. Jessi Marion and Cheyenne Kota each had seven kills for Surry, while Sydney Marion had six. Wood added nine digs and Kota finished with eight.
"Louisburg has a very athletic team with some height on the front row," said Marion-Kiser. "Fortunately, we had some runs in each set which gave us some momentum in the match.”

The Knights followed it up in a huge way Saturday, beating Randolph College in five sets and Salem College in four sets in a pair of non-conference contests in Winston-Salem.

“It was nice to play Division III NCAA schools and see where we stack up with them.” Marion-Kiser said.

SCC started the day with a 25-16, 26-24, 19-25, 20-25, 15-8 win over Randolph. The Knights played the best it has played all season in the win, serving aggressively and taking control in the first two sets. Although Randolph went on to take the next two sets, Surry regained control from the start in the fifth and deciding set.

“Everybody performed better than I ever expected. Ashley Johnson is one of our freshmen from Starmount, our outside hitter. She has been injured and we’ve had to make some adjustments,” Marion-Kiser said. “We played really smart and everybody contributed at the net as far as taking a swing and taking care of the ball.”

Johnson finished with six kills in two sets, while Shay Vick had 14 kills and Kenly Burchette added five kills. Kota contributed eight kills, Jessi Marion and Sydney Marion had six kills and Wood tacked on four more.  Wood had a whopping 44 assists to lead the Knights and Thomas led the defense with 36 digs. Saleena Call and Kota both had 18 digs, Wood had 13 digs, Jessi Marion added 11 and Burchette also cracked double figures with 10.

“It was some of the best ball we have played all season. We played as a team and didn’t get down when we lost the third and fourth sets,” Marion-Kiser said. “We got into the fifth set and just did everything right. We were very aggressive serving, took them out of their system and tried to keep them from running their offense. It was one of the best matches we’ve had all season.”

Despite going five sets, Surry kept its momentum going in the follow-up match, defeating Salem College 15-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20. Vick led the way with 15 kills, while Wood had another big passing game with 38 assists. Call led the team with 19 digs, Vick added 15, Wood had 13, and Kota chipped in 11 more. Burchette tallied nine kills, Kota recorded eight kills, Sydney Marion and Wood added six and Jessi Marion had five.

“Salem is very good and scrappy and they have hitters with big swings. We were able to defensively, again, pick those balls up and run something so our hitters weren’t getting killed,” Marion-Kiser said. “At times we didn’t pass very well as far as getting the ball to the target like we should, but we were still able to make something out of it, which was huge. The biggest thing I took away from these two games was we had to really come together and fight hard to stay alive and win. All season long I wanted to see our team chemistry click and it was there at Salem.”

The two games were huge for Surry in terms of confidence and getting them ready for the upcoming Region X Tournament. To actually be able to actually beat a pair of Division III schools was icing on the cake.

“I feel like playing that level of competition only makes us better for our region. We were really lucky at the end of the season to play two matches like that to get ready for the conference tournament the first weekend in November,” Marion-Kiser said. “I was nervous about it. I was just hoping to go and be competitive, but for us to win is huge for us. When the games ended it was great to see the girls’ faces and how happy they were.  I think we are one of the stronger teams in the region and it will be interesting to see how those matches push up our level of play in the conference tournament.”

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