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It may be a stretch to say Galax was right where it wanted to be, trailing by significant margins in each of the first three sets, but it certainly worked out well enough for the Maroon Tide.
Carroll County was in control in each of the first three games Tuesday but was able to secure only one of the three, and Galax held on to take a five-set nondistrict win, 21-25, 27-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-12.
“We’re young, but when coach Houk stepped down she didn’t leave the stables empty,” said Galax coach Yerrick Stoneman, in his first year after replacing 31-year veteran coach Rose Houk. “We’ve got good talent, and these girls know how to win. The ones who were on varsity last year won a lot of games and our JV team was also successful. We’ve got some really good players.”
Neither team started the season long on experience, but the two combined to put on a two and a half-hour show Tuesday that rivaled some of the better Galax-Carroll matches over the years.
Carroll claimed the first and fourth sets, and Galax the two middle games, to set up a race to 15 for the win. Two kills and a block by Morgan Neff highlighted a 6-0 run after Carroll had scored the first two points of the fifth game, but the Cavaliers caught the Tide at 10, and the two were tied again at 13. Galax got the winning points on two Cavalier errors – a ball into the net and a lift call.
Carroll County (0-2) used an 11-0 run in the first set, on 10 Megan Alderman service points that included three kills and a block by Jessica Sheek, to zoom into a 21-17 lead, only to watch Galax pull to within 22-21 on a Neff tip into an open spot. A kill and scoring block by Eustacia Smith and an Autumn Halsey tip off an Alderman dig provided the final two points.
The Cavaliers led 7-1 and 20-14 in the second but the Maroon Tide (3-0) rallied both times. Three Carroll errors closed the gap to 21-19 but a set into the net had the Cavs at set point, up 24-21. Three errors and a Carolyn Vaughan ace knotted the score at 25, and two more Carroll errors gave Galax the winning points.
Four straight Galax miscues had the Cavaliers leading 18-14 in the third, but the Tide bounced back with a 7-1 run on three Paige Hanks winners to take a 21-19 lead.
“Same thing that we did [against Patrick County] the other day,” said Cavalier coach Cindy Edwards, who starts a freshman and two sophomores. “Unforced errors. Nobody stepped up. We’re young across there, but you’ve got to step up and put the ball down. It’s execution.”
“They were aggressive, really trying to hit the ball hard, even on the serves, and I think they made a lot of mistakes that Carroll doesn’t usually make,” Stoneman said. “Our girls don’t play scared, we don’t panic, they’ve been in tight matches before.”
Haley Reynolds’ ace capped the game for a 2-1 set lead for the Tide, but the Cavaliers rebounded in a tight fourth set that featured 13 ties.
Neff put away 13 kills and came up with 12 digs for Galax, while Susan Davis provided 13 assists and 16 digs.
Smith had 15 kills and Sheek added 10 kills for the Cavs, while Alderman was good for 20 assists and 24 service points.