Volleyball opens with a bang

Published 9:44 am Thursday, August 23, 2018

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but seniors Emma Slabach, Lauren Grooms and Morgan Flores played leading roles in the Davie volleyball season opener, a 3-0 home win over West Davidson on Aug. 14.

The trio played like third- and fourth-year varsity starters as Davie posted scores of 25-19, 25-20, 25-16 over a 2-A power that went 24-4 in 2016 and 22-7 in 2017.

More good news: Ali Angell and Dyllan Everhardt looked quite comfortable in their varsity debuts.

“This team is still trying to figure out their identity,” coach Amber Brandon said. “Last year it was flashy, big plays and big swings. This team is going to be a little different.”

Slabach had 24 digs and 15 kills, Grooms 31 assists and 18 digs, and Flores 30 digs.

“Emma has always been the emotional leader of our team,” Brandon said. “Between the second and third sets, she made the comment: ‘We’re not playing four (sets). Let’s finish it right here.’ And it was our best set. She likes being the go-to girl.

“Lauren is well-known in our area, so she plays a lot of defense. For a lot of coaches, their strategy is if she takes the first contact, she can’t set the second contact. So we’re going to have to be effective out of system. Her skills have always been there, but her leadership is what has grown so much in the past year.

“Morgan had a really good game in the backcourt.”

Senior Abby Wilkins contributed three team-high aces. Junior Zoey Clark and senior Cara Terry chipped in 17 and 11 digs, respectively.

Angell, a high-jumping lefty freshman from Ellis Middle, and Everhardt, who played JV last year and opened her new chapter with four team-high blocks, ripped into their first varsity matches.

“On Ali’s first swing, she murdered the ball down the line,” Brandon said. “She was probably the most collected freshman I’ve seen for the first game on varsity. She’s real even keel. She’s a good mix for this team because there is a lot of big personalities and big emotions, and Ali is cool, calm and collected all the time.

“Dyllan played really well. She did what we needed her to do. Dyllan is pure athlete. Her parents (Andy and Tracie) were great athletes (at Davie). She’s another cool, calm and collected player. Whether she does something great or makes an error, it’s the same expression and the same get-after-it-the-next-play mindset.”


The War Eagles claimed nine of 11 sets against Foard from 2015-17, but the 2-A Tigers solved Davie on Aug. 16, winning 3-1 after watching Davie take the first set. The scores were 25-20, 20-25, 21-25, 21-25.

The Tigers – who boast seven straight winning seasons, including a 20-9 mark last year – improved to 2-0 after whipping Maiden 3-0 and then traveling to Mocksville.

Davie’s stat leaders were Slabach (27 digs, 11 kills), Clark (27 digs, 10 kills), Terry (23 digs, three aces), Grooms (41 assists, seven blocks), Wilkins (10 kills, nine blocks), Flores (24 digs) and Everhardt (eight blocks).

The 13-girl roster includes juniors Carmen Tomlin, Angela Zamora and Dakota Hutchins and sophomores Elizabeth Tilley and McKenzie Stakely.


Davie’s JV opened with a 27-25, 25-15 win over West Davidson. That sustained a perfect record for coach Carly Pratapas, who is back on the bench after guiding the jayvees to 17-0 in 2015.

Davie, though, stumbled against Foard, losing in two sets.