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Carroll bumps Tide in opener

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The Cavs battled through a couple of Galax challenges before taking the win in the season opener.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 HILLSVILLE -- Carroll County got win No. 1 for the year and forced Galax to wait at least a couple of days to reach a magic number as the Cavaliers opened the 2009 volleyball season with a 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 nondistrict win Monday.

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It was another good start for Carroll County, which won its first 23 matches a year ago. Galax tried again Thursday night at Alleghany, N.C., to give coach Rose Houk her 300th career win. Carroll County was prepared for that eventuality nonetheless, with a vase of flowers on hand in case the Tide had pulled off the win. Cavalier coach Cindy Edwards presented Houk with the flowers following the conclusion of the match. Galax seemed plenty capable in the first game of getting the milestone win, leading the Cavaliers 21-20 before giving up five of the final six points. The Tide led 15-14 in the first when Carroll scored six of the next seven points, sparked by an Honesty Rogers ace. Down 20-16, Galax battled back into a 21-20 lead on two Bailey Shumate kills and another from Taylor Bryant. A crucial point went the Cavaliers’ way though, and seemed to swing momentum. Allison White’s kill fell cleanly amid the Carroll defense, but the Tide was called for a net infraction, turning what would have been a 22-20 Tide lead into a 21-all tie. Galax pulled back into a 22-22 tie, but Maleah Neely found the back corner for a point, and a set fell between two Tide hitters before an errant kill ended the first game. Galax played most of the evening without starter Kemberlea Simmons, who rolled her ankle early in the first game. “That threw us out of sync and we never recovered,” said Houk.  An early 8-0 run put Carroll firmly in control of the second game. Two shanked serve returns and two netted kill attempts started the run, which ended with a Sarah Singleton smash and a Dionna Reece ace. The Cavs took the two-game lead when Kim Marshall made a diving dig and then back-set an assist to Neely for the final point. Carroll County pulled out to a 9-3 lead in the third on kills by Lexi Hodge and Singleton, with a Neely block in between. The lead grew to 21-14 before Galax made one final run, closing to 22-18 on an Allison White ace and a Shumate kill. Neely’s spike started a 3-0 run to the finish for the Cavs. Reece led a balanced Cavalier attack with 14 kills, supported by Singleton (eight kills), Neely (7) and Lauren Roper (6). Neely and Rogers led Carroll defensively with 14 and 10 digs, respectively, and Neely put up 21 assists. Singleton led the way at the serving line with 16 points. Allison White put away 12 kills and Jenna White had 13 assists to lead the Maroon Tide. Kelsey Reedy and Shumate combined for 19 digs, and Shumate served for eight points. “We saw some good things and we saw some things we need to work on,” Houk said. “Carroll County is a very good team. They hustle for everything and they’re strong at the net, and Cindy Edwards is a class act.”