Volleyball team opens with high expectations
By Brian Pitts
Davie’s volleyball program has been the epitome of consistency during Amber Brandon’s first six years as coach.
The records: 17-8, 18-9, 23-5, 22-3, 17-10 and 9-4. The last four years, Davie has finished second, tied for first, second and second in the Central Piedmont Conference. Brandon’s shiny record coming into 2021 was 106-39 overall and 48-15 in the CPC.
The War Eagles are showing no signs of slowing down. It looks like they have simply reloaded with seven seniors, five juniors and one sophomore.
“They’ve put some pretty high expectations on themselves, so there were a lot of jitters (in last week’s season opener),” Brandon said. “It’s seven seniors that work hard and work together.”
The War Eagles got off to an excellent start, beating North Surry on Aug. 16 and Mt. Airy on Aug. 18. Both matches were at home; both matches saw Davie win 3-0.
North offered little resistance even though Davie was missing one of its setters.
“We started the season with one of our setters not with us (quarantined), and we’ve also had some injuries,” Brandon said. “We’ve had people in and our for different reasons. From that standpoint, we looked really good.”
Emma Hayes and Sadie Eddinger handled the setting against North. Abigail Reynolds, Aimee Loj, Ali Angell and Molly Bures led the way.
“Abby (Reynolds) had a good night,” she said. “This is her third year on varsity, and she made some aggressive swings. She made some smart plays. She worked really hard this offseason in learning how to play faster. With her being undersized, we really work on beating the block instead of trying to swing into it. She plays a lot faster than she used to.
“Aimee had some really good swings. Ali went down with an injury last week, so we weren’t sure how serious that was going to be. She had a good night.
“Molly had a lot of playing time and had a couple good swings. She’s a really smart player. When she starts to hit a shot, she keeps going after it and keeps hitting it until the other team takes it away. That’s really nice. She found a honey hole that we call it, and North Surry never responded. She brings a lot of court knowledge.”
The good vibes continued against Mt. Airy.
“Everybody was back,” Brandon said. “We’re still nursing some injuries, but everybody is now cleared to play. We played really well. We made very few mistakes.”
The middle tandem of Loj and Kiah Mathis earned high praise.
“They are a strong middle pair,” Brandon said. “There are schools around us that have one middle as strong as those two, but I don’t know of anyone in our area that has a pair as strong as those two. They both had really good games.”
Brandon said Peyton Justice was a big factor in serve-receive and as the libero.
“The last couple of years we’ve had strong liberos, so she’s filling some big shoes from McKenzie Stakely, who won defensive player of the year in the conference, last year. And Peyton’s had two good games to start the year.”
Brandon’s assistant coaches are Marnic Lewis, Brittani Steger and Meghan Alderman. The seniors are Reynolds, Loj, Bures, Angell, Kimball Little, Justice and Eddinger. The juniors are Emily Garner, Emma Hayes, Mathis, Camden Hurst and Gracie Wilson. The lone sophomore is Mikaylah Hutton.