South Iredell’s Whitley Weddington tugged her face covering down to briefly uncover her nose on a couple of occasions Tuesday night at Statesville.
The volleyball season opener for both teams also served as their first match adhering to the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s mask mandate, implemented recently in hopes it will mitigate the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
“It was a little interesting,” said Weddington, a senior who helped the Vikings reach the third round of the playoffs during a maskless 2019 season. “We’re just lucky we get to play. Yeah, it’s a little tougher to breathe wearing it. We’ll deal with it.”
The Vikings handled the unusual alteration and Statesville in the debut.
Offense proved hard to come by for the Greyhounds. South Iredell prevailed in straight sets: 25-12, 25-13, 25-12.
South Iredell senior and future North Carolina Tar Heel Marissa Meyerhoefer led the way in the victory, tallying a match-high 13 kills and one ace to complement her defensive contributions.
Nicole Osborne added seven kills and three aces for the Vikings.
“I’d say we did great. An A-plus,” Weddington said when asked to grade their first performance. “Marissa was taking the lead out there and calling the ball. She was making sure we were all talking and communicating.”
HOW TO WATCH
Statesville coach Denise Hayes felt things went smoothly with regard to meeting the COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the NCHSAA.
“I just wish more people could be here to watch them play,” she said.
Spectators are limited to 25 for indoor events.
“But we are able to stream video online through the NFS Network. You just pay a small fee,” Hayes said. “So if grandma and grandpa were at home they could watch it. All of the Iredell schools have it in their gyms.”
Aided by a Kylee Mayberry ace and a kill from Emily McIntosh, the Greyhounds surged to a quick 3-0 advantage in the second set.
The Vikings responded with 10 of the next 11 points and never looked back.
Hayes felt her team received serve well and made some good digs defensively.
“We can work on our blocking,” she said. “South Iredell has a height advantage on us at the net. But all in all I was pleased.”
Whitley and Hannah Van Buren each supplied six kills. Whitley also recorded one point-scoring stuff block.
Elaina Valenti’s six kills paced the Greyhounds offense. Mayberry finished with two aces to go with her six assists. McIntosh’s seven assists were a team high, as were Melei Dixon’s eight digs.