DOBSON — Surry Central volleyball coach Carrie Bruce had no complaints about her team’s performance in the first three sets of Wednesday night’s match with defending 1A state champion Alleghany.
The last one was a different story, though.
The Trojans, who aren’t as strong as they were in going 26-1 a year ago but are still quite tough to beat, battled the Lady Eagles on essentially even terms for three sets, narrowly winning the first and third, but then stormed past Surry Central in set four to take a 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-13 victory.
It was the latest in a series of disappointing setbacks for the Lady Eagles, who slumped to 1-8 on the season.
“We were kicking butt there for a while, but then we decided we didn’t want it anymore and just gave it up,” said Bruce. “That last set, we just gave up, end of story. They’ve got to learn not to do that. We’ve got a good team, but until we learn not to give up, we’re not going to win matches.”
The teams appeared evenly matched and played that way for three sets, with each team getting strong play at the net, Central from Brooke Snow and Alleghany from Cameron Hawkins and Mackenzie Russell. In set one, the teams swapped mini-runs, neither one able to get ahead by more than four at any point. The set was tied at 22 when the visitors finally took the lead for good, thanks to a kill and a return from Ema Coe that just went out of bounds.
The Lady Eagles took control early in set two. After the Trojans (5-2) won the first three points, Central scored 10 straight points on the serve of Grayce Goins, with Ford and Anna Poindexter making big plays and Alleghany committing several unforced errors. When the Trojans finally did get a point, the home team went back on the attack with a kill from Snow followed by a dump shot into the open middle of the Alleghany defense for a 12-4 lead.
In the middle part of set two, Snow and Hawkins went one on one for a while, with the Alleghany sophomore pulling her team back to 14-8 when she smashed an over-set ball back over the net, only to see Snow do the same to the Trojans moments later. Ford and Taylor Coe made big plays to keep the momentum with Surry Central, and despite an ace by Rayni Pruitt and two more Hawkins kills, Alleghany couldn’t get any closer than three. The second of those kills staved off a set point, but a service error gave the Lady Eagles the set win.
Set three was more of the same, only this time, the Trojans got the upper hand and then had to hold off a rallying Central team. Alleghany led 8-3 early, but then Central scored the next two. Hawkins then delivered three straight kills for her team, offsetting a service error, to make it 11-6. Karson Norman made Alleghany pay for an over-set ball, and the Lady Eagles took advantage of a rare hitting error by Hawkins and an ace from Taylor Coe to get back into the set. Eventually, Central closed to within a point at 18-17, but couldn’t get over the hump. Alleghany won the next three before Brooke Snow scored on a dink shot. However, the Lady Eagles never got closer than two points again.
From Surry Central’s standpoint, the less said about the fourth and final set, the better. The Trojans took an 8-3 lead, then ran off seven more in a row after the Lady Eagles finally won a point. Down 15-4, the home team won two straight, but then Hawkins struck again, making a rejection at the net. The only real sign of life after that was back-to-back aces by Taylor Coe to get her team back within 18-8. After that, the teams essentially swapped points until Alleghany got to 25 and ended the match.
Central served the ball exceptionally well, with just three service errors in the match. Snow led the team with eight kills, seven assists and nine digs. Taylor Coe added six kills, nine digs and three aces, with Ema Coe chipping in 19 digs to go with her two aces. Ford had four kills to go with her 13 assists and 14 digs.
The Lady Eagles will return to action at home on Monday evening against West Forsyth.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.