Coach Shane Slate believes Tyra Galloway can be a difference-maker for his North Surry volleyball team when she plays with confidence.
On Tuesday night, Galloway played with belief and aggression. She led her team with 14 kills and seven blocks as the Greyhounds (9-6, 4-0) topped Surry Central with a 3-1 rivalry win.
“(Galloway) can dominate stretches of the match blocking,” Slate said. “She can hit some good balls on offense, but what she can do blocking really changes how other teams can approach their offense against us.”
The Golden Eagles (6-7, 1-1) especially felt the sophomore middle hitter’s presence in the first two sets. Galloway blocked numerous attacks from Surry Central, and she often took advantage when the Golden Eagles struggled with their passing and were forced to lob returns over from the back row.
Surry Central opened with leads of 7-3 and 16-13 in the first set before North took control. Dixie Fulk helped spur a run of eight consecutive points with her serve to give the Hounds a 21-16 advantage. Fulk notched three of her team-high six aces during this run.
“We put a lot of time into our serving. … That’s a point of emphasis for any good offensive team,” Slate said. “We’ve got three or four kids who do a nice job with their jump serve, and the other kids can handle good target action.”
North Surry eventually held on with a 25-17 win to take a 1-0 lead.
The Hounds led from start-to-finish in the second set and cruised with a 25-13 win. Surry Central struggled with North Surry’s serve and couldn’t string passes together to give itself ample opportunities at the net.
However, all of that changed in the third set. The Golden Eagles made it a point to take some of the momentum away from Galloway and the other Greyhounds at the net.
Middle hitters Taylor Coe and Brooke Snow responded to the challenge, both with great offense and defense in a 25-17 third-set win for Surry Central. After giving up the first point, the Eagles ruled the rest of the frame and built up a sizable lead.
Coe led the team with three blocks and Snow recorded the second-most kills for the Eagles with four.
In addition to the middle hitters, Surry Central coach Carrie Hutches credited the turnaround to the ability of Ashlynn Jewell and Sarah Ford to set up their big hitters. The two tied for a team-high 11 assits, while Jewell led Central with eight kills as well.
Hutchens also noted the Eagles improved their defense with solid floor coverage from Jess Fowler and Madison Robertson. Fowler and Robertson combined for 38 digs in the match.
“If we had just come out a little stronger in the first set, I feel like we could have given them a run for their money,” Hutchens said.
Surry Central had opportunities to win the fourth set, but the Greyhounds made the necessary plays in the end to hold on for the victory. The teams exchanged leads throughout the frame, and the score was tied at 10, 14, 15 and 17 before North Surry seized control.
Mikaela Johnson registered a kill for North Surry to give her squad an 18-17 lead. After the teams exchanged points to make it 19-18, Whitney Hall scored three of the next six points for the Greyhounds as they escaped with a 25-20 win.
North had a balanced performance from their defense on the evening. Fulk, Anna Martn, Paige Sizemore and Maggie Hawks each recorded at least 11 digs.
The Greyhounds got off to a rough start this season, but they’ve won five of their past six matches and feel like they’re playing the best volleyball of the season.
“I think we’ve now really found where we work best together,” Galloway said.
North Surry shifts its focus to South Stokes on Thursday, while Surry Central will look to break a three-match losing streak against Forbush that same day.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16