Surry Central bounced back from its first loss of the 2021-22 season by winning matches against North Wilkes and North Surry.
The Golden Eagles hosted North Wilkes Tuesday and defeated the Vikings 3-0. Then, Central traveled to North Surry Thursday and won a tough match against the Greyhounds 3-1 with set scores of 25-20, 13-25, 25-21 and 25-20.
Injuries earlier in the week forced Surry Central (10-1) had to alter its lineup against North Surry. The Eagles showed resilience in their attacking game and found creative ways to score with the team’s leading attacker temporarily sidelined.
North Surry (2-8) has also been impacted by injuries and had players on the shelf Thursday. They Greyhounds had a tough few days having to play three of the 2A divisions’ top-ranked teams consecutively, but North was competitive in all four sets. The Hounds were also just the third team all season to take a set from the Eagles.
North Surry’s strongest set was the second. Central won the opening set 25-20, but North quickly gained momentum with a 5-2 advantage in the second. The Eagles managed to tie the score on occasion, but never led in the set.
North Surry’s Callie Robertson got the offense going in the second set with a pair of kills. Ella Riggs’ serving helped North open up a 12-7 lead, and attacking troubles for the visitors kept the lead intact. Momentum stayed on the side of North, which had a sideout percentage of 69.2% in the second set compared to Surry Central’s 36%.
The Greyhound lead grew to 17-10 with Bella Jones at the service line. The senior libero ran all over the floor Thursday and kept the Hounds alive with hustle plays. Jones’ digs on the back row gave Riggs time to set up attackers like Joyce, Robertson Sadie Badgett and Kyra Stanley opportunities.
An 8-3 run to close the second set gave North the win 25-12. The second set was an outlier as the only one decided by more than five points.
Neither squad built too much momentum until the latter half of the set due to errors. The score was tied at eight times at: 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16 and 17. Central alone made four hitting errors and six serving errors in the set, but found the lead thanks to a late run.
Strong hitting from Robertson and Badgett paired with Khloe Bennett’s defense at middle hitter helped North Surry stay in control most of the set. The Greyhounds led 16-12 at one point.
Central responded by scoring 10 of the next 11 points. Jaylyn Templeton slid to outside hitter opposite Marissa McCann while Aubrey Southern moved to setter. This new combination of players paired perfectly with strong serving from Katelyn Patterson’s serving to give the Eagles a 22-17 lead.
Templeton recorded seven kills in the third set, which is more than any other Eagle had in the match total.
A well-placed attack from Stanley ended the Central run. Badgett recorded an ace and a Joyce a kill to close the gap, but the Eagles pulled out the win 25-21.
Just as North Surry held a slim advantage for most of the third set, Central started with the lead and held on most of the fourth set. McCann gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead with a kill, then serve an ace. Carlee Jones joined the front line with McCann serving and got two of her five kills on the night.
The Greyhounds slowly fought back by hustling all over the back row to control Central’s attacks. North actually turned a 10-5 deficit into a 14-13 lead, but it was short-lived. North Surry was derailed with attacking errors on four of the next five points to give Central an 18-14 lead.
The Eagles held on to this lead through the end of the set, winning 25-20.
Surry Central’s win on Thursday puts the Lady Eagles at 10-1 overall and 4-1 in the Foothills 2A Conference. East Surry (10-0, 5-0 FH2A) defeated West Wilkes 3-1 on Thursday to give the Cardinals sole possession of first place in the conference. Surry Central and West Wilkes are tied for second at 4-1, followed by Forbush at 2-2, North Surry and Wilkes Central at 1-4, and North Wilkes at 0-5.
North Surry travels to South Stokes on Sept. 20, and Surry Central travels to East Surry on Sept. 21.