DOBSON — The Surry Central volleyball team doesn’t quite know its identity this early in the season, but a versatile roster proved too much for Wilkes Central on opening night.
The Golden Eagles used a balanced offensive attack to earn a 3-1 victory over Wilkes on Monday evening. Surry Central played a lot of players in different positions Monday as Coach Carrie Hutchens searches for the winning formula down the road.
“I’m really testing the girls’ volleyball knowledge,” Hutchens said. “I’m really proud of the fact that they worked well together in their new positions and their overall willingness to hustle, even when they’re down.”
Despite winning the match, Surry Central spent a significant amount of time Wilkes Central. In the first set alone, the Lady Golden Eagles didn’t hold their first lead until the scoreboard read 23-22.
In fact, Wilkes held a 22-19 advantage before committing a serving error. Grayce Goins stepped to the back line to serve for Surry Central, and Goins helped her team rattle off six consecutive points to claim the first set. A kill from Cassie White clinched the win.
“We needed to get that win,” Hutchens said. “Getting that first win gave us a little bit of a confidence boost, because we’re a little unsure of ourselves right now. It took a little bit of the pressure off us.”
The second set didn’t prove to be any easier for Surry Central, as the Golden Eagles coughed up a five-point lead when Wilkes tied the set at 23-23. The teams exchanged points, and Surry Central faced two set-point situations, but back-to-back aces from Taylor Coe proved to be the difference as Surry escaped with a 29-27 win.
The second set was the epitome of the Golden Eagles’ balanced attack, as White, Karson Norman, Brooke Snow and Sarah Ford each recorded at least two kills to help Surry Central win the set.
Wilkes Central bounced back in the third set with an easy 25-15 win. Surry Central couldn’t get much rolling and struggled with its passing game as Wilkes forced a fourth set.
However, the Golden Eagles ended the match with its easiest win of the night in the fourth set. After a Wilkes Central ace cut the deficit to 12-11, Surry went on a run that included scoring 10 of the next 12 points before finishing things off with a 25-17 win.
Snow and Ford were a pair of difference makers for Surry Central in the fourth set and throughout the match on Monday. The two players led the Golden Eagles with nine kills each and combined for 33 assists in the win.
Hutchens believes that Snow’s development could be a key to Surry Central’s success this season.
“I’m very excited for Brooke this season,” Hutchens said. “She’s gotten a lot better at the net, and she’s always had beautiful hands, but I was hesitant to have her set last year with it being her first year. Now she’s got the blocking and hitting down, and having her set for us will open a lot of other things up.”
Another player adapting to a new position this year is libero Ema Coe. After being a significant part of Surry Central’s offense in 2015, Ema is the new leader of the Golden Eagles’ defense this season. She spent the entirety of Monday’s match at libero and recorded 14 digs to go along with four aces, but Coach Hutchens won’t hesitate to move her closer to the net this year if Surry Central needs her attacking presence.
Surry Central jumps back into action this afternoon, when it hits the road to face West Wilkes.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16