DOBSON — The Surry Central volleyball team is like a puzzle. Not one of the puzzles with 15 pieces that make a picture of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, but more of a complex, 1,000-piece mosaic of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
All of the pieces are there for the Golden Eagles to fly high on the court, as they have shown all season, but failed to put all the pieces together against Forbush.
“We just didn’t have it tonight,” Central Coach Carrie Bruce said. “We could get good balls up but couldn’t do anything with them.”
Central started off strong with big plays from Taylor Coe. Coe showed her versatility up front with a block and kill for the Eagles’ first two points. Coe’s efforts, combined with a few service errors on the side of the Falcons, allowed Surry Central to gain a 9-5 lead. Colby Crater of Forbush closed the gap with powerful serving to give the Falcons their first lead of the set since 1-0.
The Eagles and Falcons duked it out in the air with powerful kills on both ends. For the Eagles, Coe and Tara Blevins took to the skies and sent powerful spikes straight to the hardwood. The Falcons’ Camryn Doub and Parkley Hennings fought back with kills of their own to keep the game close throughout the teens. Surry Central held a slim lead until the game was tied at 20 apiece.
Forbush chose this time to take off, hammering serves at the home team to go up 23-20. Coe had an excellent hit to end the run, but it was too little too late as the Falcons scored the next two points to take the first set 25-21.
The second set housed some of the frustrations that Coach Bruce expressed after the game. Miscommunication and service errors by the Eagles let Forbush take the lead early. Despite their struggles, Central kept it close and eventually tied the game at 7. The girls in gold capitalized on mistakes by the visiting team to pull ahead 10-7.
Points were exchanged by the two teams with neither able to gain a distinct advantage. Rallies were long and both teams made good plays to win points rather than relying on unforced errors by their opponent. That was, until Central’s Jenna Simpson decided to take over. Simpson’s net play was extraordinary, but was overshadowed by her amazing serves.
The southpaw powered her serves mere inches over the net at high speeds. Slowly the lead for Surry Central began to grow until the scoreboard read 19-13. With possession back in the hands of the Falcons, they were able to set the pace for longer rallies that often went in their favor. They chipped away at the seemingly insurmountable lead before Coach Bruce called a timeout at 23-19, still favoring the Eagles. But the good feelings for Central would diminish as Forbush tied the set at 23 and exchanged points before shockingly taking the second set 28-26.
The third set went by a similar formula as the previous two. The teams fought neck-and-neck, with each team succeeding with their specialty; the Eagles with blocking and strong serving and the Falcons with long rallies. Ebony Williams of Forbush worked her tail off to keep the ball in play and was diving all over the court. Once again the lead bounced back and forth until, once again, Surry Central pulled away on a 7-1 run to lead 20-13 before a Forbush timeout.
Just like set number two, Forbush went on a big run to close the lead to just one. But the biggest difference between the second and third sets was the Eagles’ ability to keep a level head. Surry Central shut down the Falcons’ momentum and pulled away 25-20.
Central needed to win the next two sets, and played with more aggression in the first few points of the fourth set. Both teams showed improvement and were less reliant on the opposition’s errors and more on winning points with good serving and intense net play. This was until Forbush showcased its’ best net play of the evening. Sarah Hutchens and Crater dominated the front line just as Coe had done in the first set for Central.
Strong net play and a barrage of unforced errors ultimately spelled the end for Surry Central. Forbush closed out the home team with a 25-12 victory in the fourth set, cementing a 3-1 lead.
Coach Bruce noted that despite the glimpses of greatness shown by her team, they still needed to avoid getting stuck in a hole and be able to bounce back after tough plays. The Eagles are now 5-5 on the season and 1-1 in conference play. Central will travel to West Forsyth on Saturday for a tri-match. Forbush improves to 4-6 and will host North Wilkes on September 11.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith