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Grayson County showed Galax in one game just how far it has come in one year. Galax showed in all three that there is still work to do.
Galax’s versatility and experience shone through in the key moments of a first-set win and carried on through the rest of the evening as the Maroon Tide took a 26-24, 25-11, 25-21 win in a Mountain Empire District volleyball match Thursday.
“We knew we were going to have to come and play, and play well,” Galax coach Rose Houk said after her team improved to 6-1 overall, 2-0 in the district. “Grayson County is playing really well right now. They have a great defense and they dug up a lot of our hard hits.”
An easier ball to handle was part of Grayson’s undoing. The much-improved Blue Devils (4-2, 0-1) were on the cusp of taking a one-set lead, holding a 23-22 advantage in the first with a chance to go to game point with a two-point lead when a ball dropped between two Grayson players at the net. The two teams were tied again at 24 when a pair of Allison White blocks finished the set.
Grayson County led from the start until a 6-0 Galax run put the Tide in front 18-16. Bailey Shumate had an ace to go with kills by Taylor Bryant and White in the spurt.
“Getting the win in the first game was a big confidence booster for us,” Houk said.
That became apparent in the second, when Galax did little wrong and Grayson County struggled to regain its first-set form. Grace Wilson served the Tide into a 6-0 lead with a run that included two Shumate kills.
Two aces and a pair of shanked dig attempts by Grayson had Galax in front 15-6, and the lead was 15-10 when the Maroon Tide finished with a 10-1 run. Four hitting errors and a Harley Brewer smash ended game 2 with five straight Galax points.
Grayson County regrouped in the third and led 8-4 until falling behind on another 10-1 spurt by the Tide. Morgan Neff’s kill sparked the rally, which included winners at the net by White, Bryant and Shumate plus two Neff aces.
Grayson nearly caught the Tide when Natasha Moore’s kill helped pull the Devils to within 16-15 but Galax answered by scoring five of the game’s next six points and held the lead to the end.
Shumate put away eight kills to go with seven digs, five assists and 13 service points for the Maroon Tide, and White provided five kills, eight digs, eight points and three blocks.
Neff came up with 10 digs, Brewer had four kills and Wilson added 10 service points and eight assists.
Moore had five kills and four blocks for the Blue Devils and Brandi Goad had 15 assists.
Christiansburg def. Carroll Co. 3-2: The Blue Demons were able to stay live with a couple of extra points in the fourth set and went on take a closely-contested 25-27, 26-24, 20-25, 26-24, 15-8 win in a nondistrict match Thursday in Christiansburg.
Tiffany Blasingame led Christiansburg (4-4) with 15 kills and five blocks while Maggie Eddelton added 25 digs.
Lexi Hodge put down 18 kills and Autumn Fink provided 15 digs and 15 service points for the Cavaliers (6-2).