DANBURY — Surry Central mounted a furious comeback to defeat East Surry and move into the final of the Northwest Conference Volleyball Tournament.
Like Lazarus rising from the dead, the Lady Eagles returned from a 2-0 hole to tie the match 2-2 and force a fifth set.
Then with East Surry holding a big lead, the Eagles held off four game points and finished with six straight points to win 16-14.
“We are a determined team,” said Central Coach Carrie Hutchens. “We don’t want to just hand it to you on a silver platter; we want to make you fight for it.”
Surry Central will play today at 6 p.m. at North Stokes against North Surry — the second seed taking on the top-seeded Lady Greyhounds who swept the conference 16-0.
In the early going, East Surry looked like it would be facing the Hounds tonight.
The Lady Cardinals were scoring two points to every Central point in taking the first set 25-11.
With East on such a role, Hutchens said, “Kudos to them if they can play that well.”
“We played really well in set one and set two,” said East Coach Caleb Gilley. “I thought we came out fired up. We were passing well, serving well, hitting. Everything was going well.”
Despite the sharp play, he believed the Cards had some help.
“We knew that Surry Central was not playing as well as they can,” he said. “Surry Central was making mistakes they don’t normally make, and that had a lot to do with it.”
In the second set, the score was tied 3-all when East made a 6-1 push to go up 9-4. Central would get no closer than four after that in a 25-14 set.
At that point, the Cards had outscored the Eagles 50-25.
Hutchens implored her girls between sets to do whatever it took to light a fire inside themselves.
The poor play, she noted, “they see it in themselves. As soon as they huddle up they say, ‘Man, that’s just not us.’ We not only had to get our mind in it, we had to get our heart in it, too.”
She said that they needed to get better on everything: blocking, passing, hitting, making smarter hits and communicating.
With Meagan Hutson serving, the Eagles ran off the first five points of the third set.
Hutson is on the first rotation because that whole group plays well together, Hutchens explained. The back row has good defense, and the front line can attack well.
East Surry came back to tie the match at 8-all, but Central didn’t fold. Eventually, the Eagles built an 18-14 lead, drawing a timeout from Gilley.
The Eagles won the third set 25-18, but still trailed 2-1 on the night.
In the fourth set, East Surry inched ahead 6-5, but Central made an 11-2 run to take an eight-point lead.
The Cards cut the lead down to 18-16 and then 20-18, but the Eagles took the last five points for a 25-18 win.
By this point, the Eagles fans were cheering loudly, making North Stokes feel like a home match.
“Surry Central always brings a good crowd, we always bring a good crowd,” Gilley said. “Surry County schools, they follow well.”
In the final set, East Surry took an 8-3 lead and kept that five-point cushion to 13-8 as Hutchens called a timeout.
The Eagles scored two points to close to 13-10, but after a serve went into the net, the Cards were one point from winning.
Behind Cassidy Joyner’s serve, the Eagles took the last six points for a dramatic 16-14 clincher.
“We figured it out, and we pulled together,” said Hutchens. “When you’re up against a good team like East Surry, you’ve got to be able to pull out some good stuff. We played excellent those last three games.”
“They really did a good job of keying on Keri (Fulp), especially there at the end,” said Gilley. “That was probably my fault. Everybody in the gym knew we were going to her. We should have mixed it up, and that’s my mistake.”
Gilley congratulated the Eagles for the comeback.
“That shows a lot of heart on their part,” he said. “I know Carrie was tickled to death, and they’re a good program. I hate it for our guys, but they (the Eagles) deserved to win.”