DOBSON — With the season winding down, Surry Central’s four seniors are making the most of their final few matches. Strong performances from the elder statesmen of the Eagles completed the season sweep of Walkertown, again defeating the Wolfpack in straight sets.
The Golden Eagles came out of the gates a step slow, surrendering a 4-0 lead to the Wolfpack. Walkertown forced long rallies that resulted in errors by the home team. Central had opportunities to put the ball away, but had trouble keeping the ball in the confines of the court.
Surry Central soon got it together off a Tara Blevins kill. The Eagles had a significant height advantage and used their impressive front line to score many of their points. Brooke Snow and Taylor Coe would send the ball crashing toward Wolfpack players, while Karson Norman sent back any attempts by Walkertown to spike the ball. Central took the lead at 11-9, but Walkertown stayed in the fight.
Blevins took her dominance from the net to the service line and increased the Eagles’ lead to 17-10. A Walkertown timeout didn’t slow down Central, with the Eagles finishing the set on a 14-3 run to win 25-13.
For the undersized Wolfpack, patience and precision were the keys to victory. The second set began with Walkertown sending the ball over the Eagles’ front line to force longer rallies. When the Pack saw an Eagle out of position, they would strike. The lead changed numerous times before being tied 10-10. Just like the first set, Surry Central pulled away with strong serving, this time from Emma Garland. Garland broke the 10-10 tie to put the Eagles up 16-10.
Walkertown didn’t give up despite the growing deficit. Kelsey Wolfington gave the Wolfpack a rare kill to cut into the Eagles’ lead. Alley Jagger was one of many Wolfpack players that used strategic hitting to catch Central off-guard. Coe got the home team in check once the lead was 22-18, helping the Eagles score three straight to win the second set 25-18.
It took Surry Central until the third set to win the first point of the set, and they did so in a big way. Garland and Madison Goins were smacking the ball around like it insulted them. Ema Coe did well to control the Wolfpack’s attackers, and direct it to Eagle setters, who in turn set up their hitters for a kill. Walkertown was forced to regroup in a timeout as the scoreboard read 11-3 in favor of the home team. The Wolfpack chipped away at the lead coming out of the break, but were still down 13-8 when they called another timeout.
Upon taking the court again, something was different with each team. Central started making errors and hitting the ball out of bounds, allowing Walkertown to come back. It was almost as if Surry Central had checked out and assumed the victory was sealed. The Wolfpack also kept pressure on the back line of Central with deep hits that made setting up kills more difficult. Before you knew it, the Eagles’ lead was cut to one when coach Carrie Bruce called a timeout at 17-16.
Walkertown would tie the score at 17 apiece, but scored only a single point after that. Goins, Norman and Snow each took their turn to hammer the ball past the Wolfpack and put their team further ahead. Serving by Taylor Coe sealed the deal for Surry Central as they pulled away to win the third set 25-18 and complete the sweep.
Now sitting at 6-5 in conference play, the Eagles have a chance at the third seed in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference. West Stokes lost to Forbush Tuesday to fall to 7-4 in conference play. Surry Central will need to win this match-up on Thursday to have a shot at overtaking the Wildcats’ spot at third place in the conference.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith