With the early stages of the high school volleyball season in progress, here is a quick look at how the five teams in Stanly County shaped up during their slate of nonconference matchups in August.
West Stanly Colts (Rocky River Conference 2A/3A)
2020-21 Record: 13-1, 9-0
2021-22 Record: 4-2, 0-0
A year after sweeping the RRC regular season and conference tournament before advancing all the way to the third round of state playoffs, the Colts — six games into their new campaign — have already doubled the losses they had last year.
West opened the season with a 3-1 road victory over South Stanly (4-1, 0-0 Yadkin Valley) before taking down West Davidson (3-3, 0-0 Central Carolina) and Carson (1-5, 0-0 South Piedmont) with 3-0 road wins.
On Aug. 21, the Colts fell 3-2 to Reagan (6-0, 0-0 Central Piedmont) in their first home game of the year. West rebounded two days later with a 3-0 victory against East Rowan (4-1, 0-0 South Piedmont). Former conference rival Mount Pleasant Tigers (5-0, 0-0 Yadkin Valley) then took the 3-2 edge over the Colts on Aug. 26.
Despite some early-season mishaps, the Colts will still look to repeat again as conference champions with six featured seniors and the leadership of third-year coach Stephanie Dutton.
North Stanly Comets (Yadkin Valley Conference 1A/2A)
2020-21 Record: 10-1, 8-0
2021-22 Record: 2-2, 0-0
Like the Colts, the defending conference champion Comets have already eclipsed their loss total from the previous season with a mixed bag of nonconference performances so far.
Second-year coach Jamie Kimrey and his North squad started off the year on the right foot with a 3-2 road win over South Davidson (0-3, 0-0 Central Carolina). However, the Comets then suffered consecutive losses to Piedmont (2-0, 0-0 Southern Carolina) and East Rowan (4-1, 0-0 South Piedmont)
North returned to the win column on Aug. 26 after traveling to A.L. Brown (1-4, 0-0 Greater Metro) where the Comets picked up a 3-0 win over the Wonders. The next stop on the schedule is a road matchup with Robinson (1-3, 0-0 Yadkin Valley).
Karson Phillips and Carley Carpenter are the only seniors on a Comets team that is less experienced than the group that advanced to the state playoffs last season.
South Stanly Rebel Bulls (Yadkin Valley Conference 1A/2A)
2020-21 Record: 4-7, 4-4
2021-22 Record: 4-1, 0-0
In her first season as coach for the Bulls, Allison Griffith has already gotten her team off to an improved start and matched South’s win total from last year.
While the Bulls were only victorious in one out of their first five games in 2020, they have gone 4-1 in that stretch this time around. South began the season with a 3-1 win over Montgomery Central (3-4, 0-0 Mid-Piedmont) before suffering a home loss to West the following day.
Since then, the Bulls have defeated Anson (1-3, 0-0 Rocky River) twice and also notched a win over Forest Hills (2-3, 0-0 Rocky River).
Senior Keeli Crisco leads her team with 62 kills and 71 digs, while junior Kassie Swink has recorded a team-high 81 assists and five total blocks.
Gray Stone Knights (Yadkin Valley Conference 1A/2A)
2020-21 Record: 7-4, 6-2
2021-22 Record: 4-0, 0-0
Of the five volleyball teams in the county, only Gray Stone has a spotless record at this point. The Knights have started the year with a pair of home wins and a pair of road wins — all against members of the Catawba Shores Athletic Conference.
To date, the Knights have won 12 out of the 13 sets they’ve played. That includes a 3-1 victory over Mountain Island Charter (1-4, 0-0) and 3-0 wins against Lincoln Charter (2-2, 0-0), Langtree Charter (0-1, 0-0) and Christ the King (5-3-1, 0-0).
Taking command of a team that previously finished third in the conference standings, first-year coach Rebecca Carter has an older Knights squad that features eight seniors and three juniors.
Seniors Olivia Eldrige and Margaret Huckabee join junior Piper Maudlin and sophomore Aniston Belk as the four Knights who have already reached double-digits in kills.
Albemarle Bulldogs (Yadkin Valley Conference 1A/2A)
2020-21 Record: 0-8, 0-8
2021-22 Record: 0-3, 0-0
With three losses this season, the Bulldogs are still in search of their first win since Oct. 10, 2019, with the hopes of also climbing out of the ninth place in their conference standings. Albemarle hasn’t had a winning season since 2014-15.
Coach Mariah Wright is back for her second season with the Bulldogs after her team was held without a single set victory (0-24) last year.
The Bulldogs have suffered a season-opening loss to North Rowan (1-3, 0-0 Central Carolina) before facing back-to-back losses to Salisbury (3-3, 0-0 Central Carolina). Albemarle’s upcoming stretch of matchups includes South Stanly, Mount Pleasant and North Stanly.