A battle of unbeatens quickly turned into a rout as North Surry and Forbush met with first place at stake on Tuesday.
North Surry used a balanced offensive attack and some of its best passing of the season to sweep aside the visiting Falcons. Four Hounds registered at least six kills in what coach Shane Slate called his team’s best performance of the year.
“It just makes us better all the way around,” Slate said. “We don’t want to have to depend on one or two players every night. We run a five-one, so we want all five of our hitters to swing effectively.”
Paige Sizemore and Mikaela Johnson led North Surry (11-6, 6-0) with nine kills. Following them were Anna Martin with seven and Arin Bunker with six.
When she wasn’t rising for kills at the net, Sizemore was on the back line playing tremendous defense for the Greyhounds. The sophomore also led North Surry in digs, recording 12.
The first set started out tight with both squads exchanging leads. North Surry fell behind 14-13 before it really started to control the match.
On Tyra Galloway’s serve, the Hounds scored four straight points to hold a 17-14 lead. Then, Mikaela Johnson started to get in a groove, scoring four of North Surry’s final eight points in a 25-17 first-set win.
Set two was the Greyhounds’ most complete set. They led from start to finish and really dominated with their serve and their passing. Forbush (11-5, 4-1) failed to create many opportunities because the North Surry attackers were consistently receiving great passes and smashing attacks at the Falcons’ back row.
“We had consistency passing tonight,” Slate said. “That’s the whole key to volleyball, if you can pass the ball well enough to stay in system and have the option to set three hitters, it makes offense a lot easier.”
The Hounds jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the second set and never looked back. Forbush pulled within four about midway through the frame, but six aces and a five-point run with Maggie Hawks serving sparked North Surry to a 25-13 win.
Hawks was prolific with her serve yet again in the third set. North Surry jumped out to another sizable lead at 13-7, but Forbush rallied to make things close.
Leading 21-17, it was Hawks’ serve that carried the Greyhounds home. The senior libero notched three aces out of the final four points and North Surry finished off Forbush with a 25-17 win. In total, Hawks had a team-high seven aces.
“(Slate) told me to get my first ones over and then crank it on up,” Hawks said. “I finally got on top of them at the end.”
With a 6-0 record, the Greyhounds now sit alone at the top of the Western Piedmont standings.
There are only four remaining conference matches, and three wins will be good enough for North Surry to clinch the regular-season championship.
The Hounds will look to further chase this title on Thursday at home against West Stokes.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16