McMath keeps Spartans soaring
Tue. October 01, 2013 at 12:08 a.m. | By Jason Queen
Central Davidson's Melissa McMath spikes a ball during a recent match. (Photo by Mike Duprez/The Dispatch)
Melissa McMath has always had the potential to be the most dominant force on the volleyball court.
Behind the 6-foot-plus junior, Central Davidson has risen to the challenge of a new conference, and the Spartans are in the hunt for the Mid-Piedmont 3-A title. They have plenty of work ahead of them, but McMath and her teammates are certainly capable of winning the conference and making a deep run in the state playoffs.
After finally breaking West Davidson’s stranglehold on the Central Carolina Conference, the Spartans moved into the great unknown this season. “At first, I was a little nervous going into the new conference,” McMath confessed. “But, once we got in it and started playing, we’re taking care of business.”
The MPC has proven to be a little more balanced the CCC, with very few gimmes at the bottom of the league. Asheboro, Southwestern Randolph and Ledford are all capable of fighting for the league title, as evidenced by the Spartans’ two losses in MPC play so far.
But, there is plenty of time left to separate themselves from the pack. That will require McMath, along with setter Kamber Skeen and the rest of the Spartans’ hitters, adjusting to the play at the net. “Their defense is definitely better,” she said. “We have a lot of good returning players, and that was one of the main reasons I knew we could do OK, if we just played our game.
“The two teams that we lost to, I think we definitely learned what their weaknesses are. And I know we’re gonna come hard the second time we play them. And the teams we’ve already beaten, we’ll just use that confidence to work hard and try to beat them again.”
A tough nonconference schedule has helped Central prepare for the tough run through the MPC. Central lost to 2-A power Wheatmore last Monday, then beat South Rowan before topping MPC foe North Forsyth.
As if changing leagues wasn’t difficult enough, the Spartans have had to deal with a mid-season coaching change after Melissa Skeen stepped down. But, assistant coach Monica Parsons stepped in to fill that void, and McMath said the transition has been as smooth as can be expected. “It’s actually been really good,” McMath said. “She learned a lot from Mrs. Skeen, and it’s kind of like we’re the same team.
“Monica was already in there with us anyway, so it’s been really good.”
Central swept North in a nonconference match Monday, and the Spartans return to league play Tuesday against Southern Guilford. That will set up a huge showdown at Ledford on Thursday, with the Panthers trying to stay in the thick of the league championship hunt as well. Ledford will have to find a way to get up above the net with McMath and the rest of the high-flying Spartans.
“If we get a good pass and a good set, our hitters, we will put the ball down,” she said. “I’m pretty confident in that.”
Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.