Houk reaches milestone

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A wait of nearly a year seemed worth it as Tide volleyball coach Rose Houk notched her 300th career win.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Though it was undoubtedly a disappointment opening the season with back-to-back losses, some things just seem to work out for the better in the long run. After all, nights like this should be enjoyed among family. After tough road losses at Carroll County and Alleghany, N.C., Galax claimed its first win of the season, and the 300th in the career of coach Rose Houk, in the Maroon Tide’s home opener Tuesday with a three-game win over Eastern Montgomery, 25-17, 25-15, 25-6. “It was a long time coming, but we really wanted it to be at home and for everybody to be here,” said senior Drew Cardwell. “She deserves it more than any coach I’ve ever seen.” A long time, indeed. Houk picked up No. 299 in the Maroon Tide’s regular season finale last October, which was the last time Galax played on its home floor. All 300 of Houk’s wins have come as a Galax coach. “Just the greatest feeling I’ve ever experienced at Galax High School,” said Houk, a 29-year veteran and the winningest coach in any sport in Galax High School history. “What makes it so special is that I’ve gotten all 300 of them at the place I love… I appreciate players and students and teachers and administrators and people in the community, everybody has been so supportive, saying one more, one more, and it was so much more special being here at home.” The Maroon Tide (1-2) had to battle from behind in the first two games, using extended stays at the serving line to take control. EastMont led 15-9 in the first game when a kill attempt into the net gave the serve to Bailey Shumate, who reeled off 10 straight points for a 20-15 lead. The Tide’s final five points came on Mustang hitting errors. “We got off to a very slow start,” said Houk, who celebrated her 50th birthday last week. “We were hesitating and slow to react, and we may have been pressing a little bit. Plus Eastern Montgomery is a much-improved team, but once we got going on a roll we were okay.” Allison White put away a kill with Galax down 8-4 in the second, then fired four aces in a 9-0 Tide run. Following a pair of EastMont points, Jenna White served for nine unanswered points, including a pair of aces, for a 23-10 lead. The third game was all Galax. Taylor Bryant’s smash gave the serve to Allison White, who  served for 10 straight points that included two aces, three Shumate kills and two more kills by Bryant. Jenna White finished off the match with a six-point stay at the serving line that included a pair of aces. Cardwell said that the milestone win means as much to her as it does her coach. “It’s just a big honor to give her that 300th win,” she said. “It’s something that I’ll remember as long as she will. She’s not here for the 300 wins or the 30 years of coaching, she’s here for us. She loves us and she gives more time than any other coach I’ve ever seen. She’s truly dedicated to us in every aspect.” “I couldn’t have gotten it without all the wonderful girls who have played for me through all the years, and this is such a special group, and I’m so thrilled to get it with this special group of girls,” Houk said. “I have made so many friendships over the years, and it’s just something special. Words can’t express.” Shumate and Bryant led the Maroon Tide with 10 and eight kills, respectively, and Jenna White put up 17 assists. Allison White served for five aces among her 19 points and Jenna White added 15 serving points. Defensively, Galax was led by Allison White (nine digs), Jenna White (7) and Kelsey Reedy (6).