Lady Rams sweeps East Wilkes to close out the 1st half of league play

East Wilkes’ Josie Wallis scores consecutive points while Starmount’s Morgan Pinnix defends.

BOONVILLE — As the Northwest 1A Conference volleyball schedule hits the midway point, Starmount and East Wilkes find themselves in a similar spot — right in the middle of the standings.

But with a 3-0 win on Tuesday evening, the Lady Rams may have gained a little momentum heading into the second half of the schedule, which will begin for them next Tuesday against North Stokes.

Looking to bounce back from a pair of tough defeats, which included a five-set defeat against second-place Alleghany last Thursday, Starmount (7-6, 3-3) gained the upper hand early with a 25-16 lead.

The Lady Cardinals (3-7, 2-4) battled back in the second set behind a pair of early aces from Hailey Edwards. Kills from Edwards and Lilly Adams extended East Wilkes lead to 13-12.

Down 18-17, the Lady Rams rallied to take the lead, highlighted by an Emma Smith ace.

Starmount, which is now fourth in the seven-team league and trail Elkin by a game-and a-half as or Tuesday night, controlled things from there to take a 2-0 advantage after a 25-21 win.

Similar to the second set, the Lady Cardinals took control early in the third set, thanks to back-to-back kills from Adams. The senior finished with five kills and 12 blocks (eight solo).

Morgan Pinnix responded back for Starmount. The junior had a big third set with seven kills and converted on back-to-back kills to earn a 10-6 advantage, which prompted East Wilkes head coach Laken Pardue to use a timeout.

After an Ally Franse ace pushed the Lady Rams’ lead to 20-12, East Wilkes battled back to close the deficit.

First, it was a kill and a block from Josie Willis and kills from Peyton Mastin and Maddie Garris, coupled with a pair of attacking errors from Starmount cut the deficit to 22-19.

Garris used a dink shot make it 24-22 but a serving error on the next possession allowed the Lady Rams to claim the set and the match.

Libero Haley Ward paced the Lady Cardinals, who were coming off a 3-2 win over North Stokes last Tuesday, with 11 digs and Payton Spicer added 10. Briley Church finished with 12 assists while Wallis added eight blocks.

East Wilkes, which dropped to fifth place with the loss, opens up the second half of league play on Thursday when it hosts conference leader Mount Airy. The Lady Granite Bears currently stand in first place after Tuesday night’s five-set thriller over the Lady Trojans.

The Lady Cardinals will then travel to North Wilkes and Elkin on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Prior to Tuesday, East Wilkes bested North Stokes in a five-set thriller on Sept. 13. After the Lady Cardinals took the first two sets 28-26 and 26-24, the Lady Vikings tied things up with wins of 25-16 and 25-19.

East Wilkes would fight tooth and nail to earn a 16-14 win in the deciding fifth-set.

Edwards paced the Lady Cardinals with 13 kills and Adams added 12 to go along with five kills. Mastin chipped in six kills and added six assists. Edwards added a team-best 10 digs.

Before next Thursday’s match with North Stokes, Starmount will step out of league play for the next two matches, starting Thursday at Yadkin County rival Forbush. The Lady Rams will then travel to Millennium on Monday evening.