Carroll County opened the volleyball season with a bang August 22, riding an epic comeback in the first game to sweep Patrick County 28-26, 25-20, 25-11 in a non-district tilt in Hillsville.
The Cavaliers did not get off to a great start, falling behind 8-4, 11-5 and 20-13 before storming back in the first game. At that point, it looked like Patrick County, ranked sixth in the preseason Timesland volleyball poll by The Roanoke Times, might be well on their way to a sweep of their own. Carroll County, after all, was coming off a 6-16 season a year ago with a team that was extremely young.
The Cavaliers did not fold, however, fighting back to take the lead late in the first set. A raucous Carroll crowd seemed to ignite the Cavaliers in an intensely competitive first game. The Cougars, however, worked their way back to game-point, taking a 24-22 lead.
Carroll responded with three straight points to reach game-point at 25-24. Patrick again made it to game-point with two straight points to go up 26-25 before the Cavaliers scored three straight times to win 28-26.
“I thought we started out a little rough but I thought we settled down and played better after that first five or six points. I thought the first set went really well after being down. I was proud of them for holding them composure,” Carroll County head coach Cindy Edwards said. “We didn’t finish before that but I felt like they did a better job of finishing in the last match.”
With momentum clearly on their side after the big rally, the Cavaliers went on to take the second game 25-20 before cruising to a 25-11 victory for the sweep in the decisive third game. Jolee Sloss had seven kills and led Carroll with six aces during a stretch where she served for 10 straight points in the final game.
Taylor Spangler paced Carroll with 28 assists. Cassidy Lawson had seven kills, Lindsey Goad added six kills and two blocks and Erin Hash added four kills and two blocks in the victory.
“Overall I thought everybody played pretty well for the first game. I just feel like they wanted to win. They are really focused on trying to do that. And you could tell that they are better,” Edwards said of the Cavaliers. “Bar none, you can tell we are better than last year. When I say they have worked really hard, they have worked really hard in the offseason. We also know there is a long way to go and we have a very tough schedule. Going down there at their place will be a little difficult. They are ranked sixth in the Timesland and they are senior-based.”
Edwards said the Cavaliers also still have plenty to work on. She said she didn’t feel the team serve-received well compared to the preseason. She thinks first-game jitters probably played a role in that. She said the loud crowd helped the team fight through those nerves.
“I am very happy with the crowd and the student section was awesome. We appreciated the support,” Edwards said.
Carroll’s JV team also defeated Patrick, sweeping the Cougars in two games.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN