Volley team beats West

Published 11:03 am Thursday, September 8, 2016

Davie’s varsity volleyball team was swept in three sets by visiting Reagan on Aug. 30, but the War Eagles answered with a 3-0 victory at West Forsyth on Sept. 1.

Against Reagan in the Central Piedmont Conference opener for both teams, Davie was just plain overmatched by a lights-out opponent. After going 30-1 and reaching the 4-A semifinals in 2015, the Raiders entered the week 6-0 with all shutouts. Davie has never beaten them. Playing its first match in seven days, it saw its four-match winning streak end with scores of 25-18, 25-12, 25-15.

“Reagan returned a phenomenal amount of kids,” coach Amber Brandon said. “They’re a very skilled team.”

On the other hand: “Nerves were definitely high,” she said of her team. “I mean we have two kids (Lauren Grooms and Taylor Walton) who saw floor time last year regularly. During warmups, we were serving balls out and deep. A lot of adrenaline was pumping, and we never got settled in.”

Two days later, Brandon was all smiles. Davie blew past West to improve to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the CPC. The War Eagles did not beat West in 2013-14. Now they’ve won three straight in the series.

“After the loss, we had a good talk about letting tonight set the pace for our season,” Brandon said. “We said use the loss to pull together. Wednesday was probably the best practice of the season. The competition level was really high.

“And everything seemed to click (against West). All 13 players played in the match. It was a sound team effort.”

Walton did her thing as the Titans fell to 4-4 overall in their CPC opener.

“She is our big power hitter,” she said. “Usually if she gets a good set and her timing is right, the ball’s not coming back.”

But Walton’s play doesn’t tell the entire story. Brandon pointed to Claire Wallace, Grooms and Kim Clemo.

“It was the biggest team-effort match that I’ve ever coached,” she said. “We played well one through 13. Claire had a really good practice Wednesday and earned herself a significant amount of playing time and did a really good job. She understands what her role is. Lauren did really well running the offense. Kim has been setting at practice for a week now, and she did a great job coming in for Lauren and giving her a break.

“Everybody does their job. It’s a role-playing team. Since we’re a young team, that’s a huge positive for us in the future.”