Maroon Tide drops Grayson

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By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

INDEPENDENCE –– Galax bounced back from a big second-game deficit and swept the season series with Grayson County 25-17, 25-19, 25-16 in a Mountain Empire District volleyball match Tuesday night at Grayson County Middle School.

“We seemed really fired-up and ready to play,” said Maroon Tide coach Rose Houk after her team improved to 8-6 overall, 3-1 in district play. “This was a really big win for us. We showed a huge improvement in our serving.”

Galax had just two missed serves on the night and fired seven aces, five in the first game. Leading 5-4 in the first, the Maroon Tide jumped out to a 13-6 lead with a run capped by consecutive aces from Allison White. Grayson County rallied to within a 14-10 score and was still within four points before Galax began pulling away.

Leading 23-17, Galax took the first game on a Kemberlea Simmons kill followed by an ace from Drew Cardwell.

Grayson County scored the first four points of the second game and bolted to an 8-1 lead on kills by Haley Johnson and Natasha Moore, plus a scoring block by Moore.

“Grayson County has improved tremendously since the first time we played them,” Houk said. “Coach [Daniel] Collins is doing a great job with them.”

Trailing by seven, the Maroon Tide began climbing back into it with five unanswered points. Jamie Cockerham slammed home a pair of kills and White had a tip and a block.

The Blue Devils countered with a 5-1 run with a Jordan Hensley ace, a Rebecca Johnson block and a pair of errant Galax kills, leading 15-9. Galax took its turn in the back-and-forth affair, eventually taking the lead with a 10-2 spurt. Grayson County got a Catherine Vaughan kill to pull to within 20-19, but Galax put the game away with the serving of Jenna White and the net play of Allison DeSanto. White served for four straight points, two on a block and then a kill by DeSanto.

“I was really pleased with how we fought back in the second game,” Houk said. “Grayson County came out strong and jumped on us early, but the girls hung on and got it together and were able to pull it off.”

Galax never trailed in the third, taking a 2-0 lead on Kelsey Reedy’s serve and opening up a 10-3 lead on scoring plays by several different players. Allison White, Jenna White, Arianna Sexton, Cockerham, DeSanto and Simmons all registered points at the net in one fashion or another as the lead grew to 19-9, and the Maroon Tide held most of the 10-point advantage to the end.

“We played with so much more intensity tonight,” said Houk. “We had several threats at the net.”

The Tide’s new 10-player rotation seemed to work.

“We played as a team, and that’s what I really like to see,” Houk said. “All 10 players contributed.”

Allison White led a balanced attack at the net with eight kills. Cockerham added seven, with six from Sexton and five from DeSanto.

Sexton put up five blocks and Jenna White dished out 19 assists. Cardwell led the team with 13 assists, and Sexton led the defensive effort with eight digs.