Ellis volleyball shocks North, Summit

Published 9:51 am Thursday, December 17, 2020

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When the Ellis volleyball team got going, it really got going. The first time around the conference schedule, the Jaguars were beaten 2-0 by both North Davie and Summit.

When the rematches were staged last week, the Jaguars took down both. Who saw that coming?

“We did amazing,” first-year coach Ann Marie Jones said after a home win over North on Dec. 7. “We killed it. I was super proud of the entire team. We played good, sound volleyball. Everyone was doing their job and playing very cohesively. Their energy was up, they were all helping each other out and they were keeping each other’s spirits up.”

Four days after losing to North, the Jaguars curbed the Wildcats’ three-match winning streak and notched their first win in three tries. Kaylee Lewis and Evie Peters earned praise as Ellis won in two sets.

“Kaylee was doing a fantastic job reading the ball, seeing if it was going short, being there for coverage and also knowing when to use her hands,” Jones said. “(Outside hitter Peters) really showed up when I needed her. I needed good serves at an important moment in the game, and she went in there and proved herself. She gave us several consecutive serves that came at a very pivotal moment. I was very proud of her.”

After losing to Summit in the Dec. 2 season opener, the Jags returned the favor at home on Dec. 8. It went three sets.

“It was a pretty intense game, but we played really well,” Jones said. “That (loss to the Eagles) was our very first game after only having two practices. For some of the girls, they said it was their first game in like eight months. So they were all very tense that game. I also hadn’t figured out a sound lineup, so it was kind of a get-out-there-and-let’s-see-what-we-can-figure-out match.

“It was a fantastic game and Summit played well, too. But in the end, we outplayed them.”

Carly Crouch has been superb.

“She is dangerous – in a fantastic way for volleyball,” she said. “She’s very smart and has good, natural volleyball instincts. Her hits are absolutely phenomenal. She can really drill it into the other team. She’s also a great passer. I leave her in all the way around (the rotation).”

The coach has been equally impressed by Cora Nicholson.

“She’s always a positive light for the girls,” she said. “She is always rallying them and has a really uplifting attitude. She is also a very sound and solid player. I can count on her to make smart decisions. She’s also important being one of our setters.”

Zoe Bishop is the other setter. She is no slouch.

“Cora and Zoe really do a great job of putting the ball in a good place for our hitters,” she said. “They are also both smart in using the passes they receive – whether to set our hitters up or to tip it over and get us a point that way.”

Notes: Ellis’ fortunes turned in a 2-0 home loss to Wesleyan Christian Academy on Dec. 10. “It was a good game even though we lost,” Jones said after Ellis slipped to 2-3. “We were down a setter, so we had to revamp our lineup a bit.” … Jones graduated from Davie in 2014, playing four years of volleyball for the War Eagles. Then she played at the college level at Cabrini University in Philadelphia.