War Eagle volleyball wins a barnburner

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

It was a test of wills. It was a nerve-wracking volleyball match that went five sets. It could have hardly been any closer.

Davie and visiting East Forsyth produced 220 points on Sept. 2. Despite playing without an injured Abigail Reynolds, despite facing a future Tennessee Volunteer in Kadynce Boothe, despite having Ali Angell less than full strength as she played through what proved to be food poisoning, the War Eagles out-gutted East 25-14, 23-25, 29-27, 24-26, 15-12.

Add it up and Davie had 116 points to East’s 104. Whoa, Nellie. “It was about as intense and close a match as I’ve had (in seven seasons as Davie’s coach),” Amber Brandon said.

Boothe, a 6-foot senior, is absurdly good. The War Eagles could have used several swigs of Pepto while having to deal with her.

“She hits the ball harder from the back row than most of the kids from our conference hit it from the front row,” Brandon said. “She already plays like a Division-I kid because she hits it hard and deep. And that’s what you can’t defend.”

On top of that, Davie was missing one of its main weapons in Reynolds, a senior who missed her second match with a sprained ankle.

“She rolled her ankle (against Maiden),” she said. “That’s a huge loss. She can jump out of the gym, but a huge part of her game is taken away by the injury.”

Angell had to come out several times because of the effects of food poisoning. (That partly explains why Davie dropped the second set after blasting East in the first set.) But the senior found the strength to make one big play after another.

“Ali had a huge game,” Brandon said. “Without her, there’s no question we don’t win that match. In the fifth set, she had a couple of crucial kills and got a touch on some balls, slowing things down so kids behind her could play it.”

Seniors Aimee Loj and Kimball Little were also critical factors.

“Aimee had a big game,” she said. “She had a couple blocks at crucial times. She had a couple swings at crucial times. One of the biggest benefits of our team is she’s got a really good serve. On a lot of teams, their middles can’t play defense at all. But Aimee plays defense really well. She had a couple of big digs when she was serving.”

“We purposely set up our rotation so that when Kadynce was on the front row, Kimball was on the back row. She had some big digs, especially in the fifth set. Because Kadynce hits the ball hard and deep, you’ve only got a split second to make a decision about whether the ball is out or in. Kimball let a couple balls go in the fifth set that were huge.”

Davie beat East for the 17th time in 18 meetings, the one loss coming Jan. 4 when the War Eagles dropped the fourth and fifth sets.

Notes: While Davie improved to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the Central Piedmont Conference, East slipped to 3-3, 0-2. East’s other CPC loss was 3-1 to Reagan. … In a tri-meet on Aug. 28 at South Iredell, Davie beat Maiden 3-0 and lost 3-2 to South. Davie’s only loss of the season was a tough one; it took the first two sets before watching South storm back. … On Aug. 31, Davie cruised past host Reynolds 3-0, beating the Demons for the 37th consecutive time. … Davie’s JV improved to 4-1 by claiming its first two league matches. Davie beat both Reynolds and East in two sets.