West Stokes volleyball team is coming off one of the best seasons in their program’s history with a 17-9 overall record and a 6-4 third place finish in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference. The Lady Wildcats defeated second place Forbush in the semifinals of the conference tournament and pushed eight-time conference champion North Surry to a fifth game before losing 3-2.
The Wildcats will return ten lettermen and six starters along with three new additions to the lineup.
“We are full of offensive and defensive players this year,” stated coach Jordan Stevens. “We are really deep and everyone will have to fight for a position in our lineup.”
The team expects to compete for their first conference championship against North Surry and the other teams in the conference.
“North Surry has been top dog for eight years now,” commented Stevens. “They have won a couple of state titles and I don’t believe they have lost a conference game since 2008. I know our girls are up for the challenge. Last year’s team held a 2-1 advantage in the conference tournament, but a few unforced errors turned the tide in their favor that ultimately changed the outcome of the game.”
After last season’s 3-1 loss to Polk County in the first round of the state 2A playoffs, West Stokes looks to bring size, speed and experience into the year with six seniors paving the way with leadership and skills. WPAC All-Conference player of the year runner-up, Rachel Delcamp, is expected to have another solid season. Last year she led the team with 385 kills and is being actively recruited by colleges. All-Conference performer Abigail Gordon led the team with 159 digs and Mackenzie Parker, who was injured for several games during the conference season last year, finished with 456 assists to lead the Cats. Taylor Cunningham returns and brings a history of serving 65 aces and Mackenzie Johnson returns with 43 blocks last year.
During the summer, the Wildcats focused on increasing their fitness levels and dialing in on minor skills that will help them win the big games this season, according to Stevens. The team also hosted a three -day camp with Catawba Valley Community College, who finished fourth nationally at the junior college level.
“That camp really helped us figure out how to use our lineup and reach our goals,” Stevens said. “I feel the girls are really determined to make a run at conference and a deep state playoff run.”
Stevens will enter his fifth season as the Wildcats coach with a 46-47 overall record since taking on the position. He was a staff member of the North Stokes volleyball team that won a state championship in 2011.
Members of this year’s team include: Madeline Newsome (Sr.), Natalie Durham (Jr.), Allie Hawkins (Sr.), Mackenzie Johnson (Jr.), Abigail Gordon (Sr.), Taylor Cunningham (Sr.), Abby Walker (So.), Madison Upchurch (So.), Rachel Delcamp (Sr.), Mackenzie Parker (Sr.), Blakeleigh Goldbach (So.), Katie Bryant (Jr.), and Lyza Addington (So.).
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.