DOBSON — Surry Central had its opportunities on Thursday night to hand North Surry its first-ever volleyball loss in the Western Piedmont Conference, but the Eagles let their best chance slip away in the second set.
After a nice rally to tie the set at 20, Surry Central couldn’t complete the comeback and allowed the Hounds to seize complete control of the match.
Eagle coach Carrie Hutchens didn’t want to call it a turning point, but for North Surry (13-7, 8-0), it was the last bit of momentum needed for a 3-0 sweep.
“You don’t want to split 1-1 on somebody else’s home court,” Greyhound coach Shane Slate said. “Because it gets in their favor at that point. That second set was back-and-forth, and it made a big difference we came out on top.”
North Surry jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a dominating first set. The Golden Eagles (9-10, 4-4) struggled with their passing from the back, and Paige Sizemore gave the Hounds a solid start with two aces and a kill in her team’s first five points.
North Surry slowly built on this lead and finished off the first frame with a 25-17 victory.
Coach Slate was disappointed with his team’s 15 serving errors on Thursday, but Sizemore was a bright spot in this category, recording six aces.
“I’ve had struggles with my serve this year, but tonight I calmed myself down and I focused on my toss and got it over,” Sizemore said.
The second set was contentious throughout, featuring nine ties and four lead changes.
North Surry looked on its way to an easy win leading 20-15, but Ashlynn Jewell rattled off a quick five-point rally to get the Eagles back in it. Jewell had a nice night overall, and Coach Hutchens appreciated her fight as the match wore on.
However, the Greyhounds scored the set’s final five points to pull away with a 25-20 win. Mikaela Johnson recorded two of her team-high 11 kills during this run.
The Golden Eagles couldn’t recuperate, and got off to a slow start in the final set trailing 10-5. From that point, the closest deficit was four points before a Tyra Galloway kill ended things at 25-20.
The victory for North Surry clinches at least a share of the Western Piedmont title. If the Greyhounds can win one of their final two matches, they will win the conference outright for the third consecutive season.
Surry Central will look to bounce back in its next two conference matches against West Stokes and Forbush. The Falcons sit two games ahead of the Eagles in the standings, and victories in the final matches could go a long way to helping Surry Central make the playoffs.
“I believe that this team still knows what’s possible, and I think we have the right drive to make that happen,” Hutchens said.
Both teams will return to action on Saturday at the Rivals United Dig Pink event. The Hounds and Eagles will face off with their local 1A rivals, the host East Surry Cardinals and the Mount Airy Granite Bears.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16