War Eagle volleyball lets one slip away

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Coach Amber Brandon is being patient with her volleyball team. Davie’s varsity squad is 1-1 in the Central Piedmont Conference after taking a gut-punch from East Forsyth, which overcame a 2-0 deficit and won in five sets.

“(Setter) Lauren O’Connor has the ability to play fast, and we’re running the quickest offense we’ve run since I’ve been at Davie,” Brandon said. “The timing and the connections with that take a little bit more time. When we can get the ball in Lauren’s hands and can run our offense like we want to run it, at the pace we want to run it, we’re being super successful. We’ve just got to get more consistent in the serve-and-pass game.”

The War Eagles did whatever they wanted in the CPC opener at Reynolds on Aug. 29. The scores were 25-15, 25-16, 25-12 in the 42nd consecutive win over the Demons, who fell after starting 4-0.

The next day at home, Davie beat West Rowan in four sets in nonconference action. The scores were 21-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-20.

“We played really well,” Brandon said. “I was proud of the kids. We lost the first set, but they really dug in.”

Mikaylah Hutton (18 kills), Malia Privett (14 kills, team-high 16 digs) and Carly Crouch (11 kills) led the way against the Falcons.

“Malia took 40 swings and only had four errors in the whole match,” Brandon said. “She is the definition of a six-rotation pin. We ask Malia to do a lot.”

The third match in three days was a bitter pill to swallow. Davie jumped out to 25-11, 25-19 wins over visiting East Forsyth. But East, which finished second in the league last year behind Reagan, stormed back to beat Davie for the fifth straight time. The scores in the last three sets were 25-12, 33-31, 15-11.

“It’s a good experience to play five sets this early in the season,” Brandon said. “So there’s definitely some positive things we can take away from it.”

The fourth set left Davie deflated. The 33-31 barnburner was one of the longest sets you’ll ever see. Davie let leads of 18-12 and 22-17 slip away.

“When the game got tight, it was who could score two points in a row?” Brandon said. “We had match point a couple of times and just couldn’t get the ball to fall our way.”

Hutton, Emma Willard and O’Connor were silver linings.

“I knew Mikaylah would need to have a huge year for us to be successful in gunning for the top spots in the conference, and she has been lights out, especially from an offensive standpoint,” Brandon said. “She’s hitting shots that she’s not been able to hit before. She’s making smart decisions. It’s super exciting.

“Emma is a solid libero. She played really well against East. They have a couple big guns and Emma did a good job of keeping them under control.

“Lauren is a great defensive setter. She is by far the best defensive setter that I’ve ever coached.”

Notes: Reagan and West Forsyth are 2-0 in the CPC, while Davie (4-2 overall), Glenn, Reynolds and East are 1-1. … East snapped Davie’s three-match winning streak.