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HILLSVILLE –– Through a long and successful coaching career that has far surpassed the 200-win mark, Cindy Edwards still hasn’t quite gotten the grasp of coaching experience to her Carroll County volleyball players.
The concept is catching on by itself, though.
Having endured its share of growing pains through a 1-3 start, Edwards’ Cavaliers won their sixth straight match Monday, avenging an earlier loss to Galax with a 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 nondistrict win.
“We’ve got two seniors and a lot of sophomores and juniors, and a freshman,” said Edwards after her team improved to 7-3. “They get a long together well, they play together well, the chemistry is good, it’s just the execution aspect as gotten better. We played [Galax] early, our second match, and the execution wasn’t there. They’ve improved, and they should be improving. We’ve still got a long way to go though.”
The Cavaliers had a long way to go after dropping the first set on Monday, letting a 17-12 lead slip away as the Maroon Tide (10-2) made a late charge. Galax caught and passed Carroll with a 5-0 run that included three Susan Davis aces, including one for a 23-21 lead. Davis had six aces in the first game alone, firing three straight early in the set.
Carroll County knotted the game at 23 on a Morgan Tompkins tip before a cross-court kill by Lindsey Ayers and a tip by Morgan Neff ended the set.
Carroll began pulling away in the second game with a 6-1 run and took a 19-12 lead when Eustacia Smith had three kills dug out by the Tide, eventually winning the point with a well-placed dink. Smith accounted for the game’s final two points as Carroll squared the match at a set apiece.
Galax used a 9-1 run early in the third set to take a 13-7 lead, getting a pair of Ayers spikes in the rally. The Maroon Tide still held a 21-17 lead before the Cavaliers closed the set out with an 8-2 flurry. Jessica Sheek put away two kills, Rachel Farmer had a scoring block and Smith added a spike during the run, which ended with a block by Tompkins and Morgan Crowder for game point.
Carroll never trailed in the fourth after winning 10 of 11 points to take a 15-10 lead. Sheek had four kills in the run and Autumn Hill added a block and a kill.
Galax climbed to as close as 18-17 on Paige Hanks’ ace but the Cavaliers scored the game’s next four points and six of the final eight, including four Smith winners. Her ace, following a Cheyenne Strickland push to an open spot, ended the match.
Galax had to scramble after losing Ashley Frye in the second set to an ankle sprain.
“The momentum really changed when she went down,” Galax coach Yerrick Stoneman said. “I think our kids were more worried about her than anything at that point.”
Sheek and Smith put away 11 kills each for the Cavaliers, who got five blocks from Farmer, 17 digs from Gracie Lindsey and 19 digs from Smith. Megan Alderman put up 15 assists.
Ayers led all hitters with 15 kills to go with seven digs. Neff had eight kills and Carolyn Vaughan led the Tide with nine digs. Galax racked up 15 aces on the night, led by Davis’ six.