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Volleyball rally falls short

This was so close to being one of Amber Brandon’s finest hours as Davie’s fifth-year volleyball coach.

After dropping the first two sets to visiting West Forsyth on Oct. 8, Davie captured the third and fourth sets and had a hand and four fingers around the fifth set. It slipped away. The Titans survived to take sole possession of first place at 6-1. Davie and Reagan found themselves tied for second in the Central Piedmont Conference at 5-2.

The scores were 20-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-15, 14-16. West’s seventh straight win lifted it to 16-4 overall. Davie slipped to 12-8 with its first loss in five matches.

Davie dug the hole by losing two close, exciting sets. Brandon: “We couldn’t find the groove. At the end of the second set, one of the seniors stepped up and said: ‘We just need to play. Celebrate the big points. If they get a point, move on to the next. Quit thinking so much. Quit thinking about what this game is for (on Dig Pink Night) and just play.’ That’s what we did the third, fourth and fifth sets.”

Starting with the third set, seniors Zoey Clark and Kayla Moore took over.

Brandon: “Zoey and Kayla came alive. They were the difference-makers. In the fourth set, Kayla had nine kills. When those two really get to swinging and having pop off their hands, it opens up everybody else. They are two emotional leaders on the team.

“I felt like a long match was to our advantage because we have a deeper bench than West Forsyth.”

In the decisive fifth set, the War Eagles built a 14-11 lead. They were one point away from assuming the CPC driver’s seat. Alas, they came up short, failing to score again and watching West rip off five straight points.

Brandon: “We had by far our most consistent server behind the service line, and she just missed a little long (to make it 14-12). All the time in practice we work on serving deep. We work on pushing the passers backward. We serve to score. That’s one of the big things we talk about on a daily basis. We’ve probably got the best serving team that I’ve seen all year, and we talk about it’s OK to miss.

“(When it was 14-12), we had two good passes. We had a matchup that we knew we wanted to go after. It just didn’t fall our way. There are a hundred things that we could have done just a little bit different in that fifth set. Hindsight is 20/20.”

Dakota Hutchins was a factor with “really, really good defense,” Brandon said. McKenzie Stakely helped Davie go toe-to-toe with a team that beat Davie in four sets on Sept. 19.

Brandon: “Her role has been a roller coaster this year. The great thing about McKenzie is she can do a lot of things in the backcourt. She can play all three back-row positions pretty well. We used her a lot to give six-rotation kids a break, and she had a really good game. She brought a lot of consistency. In an emotional game, that’s what you want – somebody who can come off the bench with a clear, level head, give a starter a break and you know the level of play is not going to drop.”

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As expected, Davie won 3-0 at Glenn on Oct. 10. The Bobcats (8-13, 1-7) lost their fifth straight. Davie (6-2) stayed one match behind West (7-1).