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Richlands stuns Carroll County

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The Cavaliers won the first two sets before the Blue Tornado rallied for the 3-2 upset.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE –– Carroll County dominated early but faded down the stretch and suffered a rare Southwest District volleyball defeat Tuesday night, falling to Richlands 12-25, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 15-9.

Defeated soundly in the first two sets, Richlands came to life in the third and won the final three sets to eke out the win. Carroll County (7-4 overall, 0-1 district) was on its way to a 3-0 match win, leading 11-9 in the third set, when the Blue Tornado went on a 9-1 run to take control.

The Cavaliers got to as close as 20-17 on a Jessica Sheek tip followed by kills from Murphy Smith and Autumn Hill, but Richlands finished on a 5-1 run to keep the match alive.

Carroll County trailed 10-5 in the fourth set before catching Richlands at 16-all on a pair of Lexi Hodge kills, but the Tornado held on for a two-point win in the set, then took the fifth relatively easily.

Carroll County gradually pulled out to a 7-3 lead in the first game on aces by Ashley Willard and Sheek. A 5-0 Cavalier run pushed the lead to 15-7 and Carroll County closed with an 8-2 rally, including two aces in the last three points by Megan Alderman.

Richlands slowly began making a match of it in the second. Despite five kills by Willard the Cavaliers trailed 15-14 before closing strong. Willard’s fifth kill of the set, and her subsequent serving ace, sparked Carroll to an 8-2 spurt and a 21-17 lead, and the Cavaliers went on to take the two-set lead.

Willard finished with 17 kills and 20 serving points. Sheek had eight kills and nine blocks while Hodge put away nine kills to go with 12 digs.

Autumn Fink led the Cavaliers with 21 serving points and 23 digs and Morgan Dickens added 22 assists, five kills and 12 points.

Galax def. Narrows 3-1: The Maroon Tide notched a key Mountain Empire District win, knocking off the Green Wave 19-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 Thursday in Narrows.

“We didn’t move our feet in the first game and couldn’t get any good passes up,” said Galax coach Rose Houk. “We gave them eight points on five dropped balls and three missed serves. We showed some fight in the second game and really started showing some confidence in the third.”

Allison White served for points 18-23 to help square the match in the second set for Galax (13-1, 4-0). After holding on to take a 2-1 set lead in the third, Galax took control in the fourth to seal the win. 

White finished with nine kills, 13 digs and five blocks. Bailey Shumate put away 16 kills to go with seven digs and seven assists, Harley Brewer added eight kills and four blocks while Taylor Bryant tallied four kills. Grace Wilson set up 15 assists and the trio of Paige Hanks, Morgan Neff and Carolyn Vaughan came up with 28 total digs. Haley Reynolds had four key serving points, including the final two of the match.

Grayson Co. def. Geo. Wythe 3-0: The Blue Devils kept the Maroons winless on the year with the nondistrict 25-16, 25-10, 25-12 win in Wytheville.

Natasha Moore had 10 kills, Mary Meier added six kills and Destiny Shupe provided three aces for Grayson (8-2).

Carroll Co. def. Magna Vista 3-1: The Cavaliers pulled away from a 1-1 deadlock to win the final two games and the match in a 25-21, 19-25, 25-20, 27-25 win Thursday in Ridgeway.

Ashley Willard and Lexi Hodge each hit double figures in kills with 14 and 13, respectively. Morgan Dickens served for 20 points, dug 18 balls and put up 23 assists and Ashton Huff added 10 assists.