DOBSON — The Surry Central volleyball team experienced a quick and possibly painful loss in three straight sets to the Cardinals of East Surry. Now just 11 days later, the box score of the rematch may read the same, with East Surry winning 3-0, but the Golden Eagles gave their fellow birds a run for their money.
The Cardinals were quickly greeted with resistance in Dobson, as the Eagles’ junior Jenna Simpson denied East Surry’s attempts to attack. East struggled to get its footing with hits into the net and Central took advantage. Senior Taylor Coe joined the block party hosted by teammate Simpson while simultaneously trying to put a hole through the gym floor with her dominant kills. The scoreboard favored the girls in black and gold early as Surry Central posted a 7-4 lead.
East Surry freshman Emma Brown fought back with key hits to keep the Cardinals close, as the Eagles rode a wave of momentum. Great efforts from Brown and senior Sarah Marion turned a 13-10 Central lead into a 15-14 advantage for the Cardinals. Eagle coach Carrie Bruce called time and hoped to regroup from giving the lead, but East Surry emerged from the timeout and went on a 6-0 run that was ended only by a Cardinal serving error. East coach Caleb Gilley called a timeout when the Eagles tried to mount a comeback. He successfully willed his team to score the next few points consecutively and win the first set 25-20.
The Cardinals picked up where they left off in the first set by starting set number two with a 6-0 run. The great hits Central was getting in the first set just weren’t falling into place now, and it reflected on the scoreboard. At one point, the Cardinals were up 10-3 and two of the Eagles’ points came from service errors by East Surry. The only sign of life from the Eagles came when they scored three consecutive points to cut the lead to 12-9. Unfortunately for the home team, East Surry scored six of the next seven points.
Taylor Coe was the main source of energy for the Eagles in the second set and was all over the court providing blocks, kills, and quality serves. But her efforts were negated by a Cardinal squad firing on all cylinders. East Surry won the second set easily by a score of 25-15.
Whatever Coach Bruce told her girls before the third set gave her squad new life. Precise serving from senior Brooke Snow helped the Eagles jump out to a 4-0 lead. East Surry then began chipping away at the Central lead, but the teams kept trading points. There was a point in the third set when players were exchanging kill shots, featuring the hits of East Surry’s Bethany Clayton and Marion and Central’s Coe. The Eagles’ lead was slim until they grabbed the reins of the set and attained a 15-10 lead.
The difference for Surry Central in the third set was the absence of unforced errors. The Eagles were now able to hang with East Surry in long rallies and forced the Cardinals to make mistakes. Eagle senior and libero Ema Coe was diving all over the place to keep her team in the fight. But as the rest of the county should already know, you can’t let up against a determined Cardinal team.
East Surry slowly but surely fought back to finally tie the set at 19-19, resulting in a timeout for Coach Bruce. The Cardinals grabbed their first lead of the third set with a score of 21-20, but it was short-lived as neither team was able to gain a clear advantage. With the set tied at 24, East Surry capitalized on Eagle mistakes to pull away with a 26-24 victory to complete the 3-0 sweep.
Despite the final scoreboard, this match proved that Surry Central has the pieces to compete with some of the best teams and is putting those pieces together. The Eagles fall to 3-4 and look to get back to .500 against a struggling Wilkes Central team (1-4) this evening. East Surry improves to 7-1 and will host Ashe County (1-4) today.
Reach Cory Smith on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith