DOBSON — The battle for first place in the Western Piedmont 2A Conference ran through Dobson on Tuesday as the first-place Forbush Falcons put their undefeated conference record on the line against the second-place Surry Central Golden Eagles.
The Falcons (15-4, 9-0) came into Tuesday’s match with a set record of 24-1 in conference play, with North Surry being the only team to take a set from Forbush. If Surry Central (10-9, 7-2) wanted to contend for its first conference title in more than a decade, the Lady Eagles needed to take three sets from their conference foe.
As close as they came, the Lady Eagles came up short in their attempt to force a tie atop the WPAC leader board. Forbush now holds a two-game lead over Surry Central and a three-game lead over North Surry (12-8, 6-3) with just three conference matches remaining.
The Golden Eagles couldn’t contend with the attacking corps of Forbush, but managed to stay competitive throughout due to their defense. Central was more competitive as the match progressed, dropping sets 25-15, 25-20, and 25-22.
Sarah Hutchens gave the Falcons an early 7-3 lead with a trio of kills. Surry Central had chances to capitalize on Forbush mistakes but couldn’t score back-to-back points until it trailed 12-7.
Jenna Simpson had the first kill of the night for Central and followed it up with a block to close the gap. Back row play from Abigail Johnson and Mia McMillen kept rallies alive and created a bigger chance for a Forbush mistake.
On the flip side, the Falcons aimed to end each point as quick as possible with a barrage of attacks. When the Eagles got close to tying the set, kills from Parkley Hennings and Colby Crater extended the Falcons’ advantage to 17-10.
Emma Garland and Tara Blevins tried to get the Eagles back within striking distance to no avail. A kill from Ansley Reid wrapped up the first set, with Forbush winning 25-15.
Forbush earned the first point of the second set but surrendered the next three. A kill from Simpson, who led the Eagles with six kills, gave Central its first lead of the night. Attacking errors from Forbush put Central up 6-2.
The Falcons recuperated and went on a 10-1 run behind Crater’s strong serving. Crater had two aces on the run. When she wasn’t sending bullet serves at the Eagles, Hennings and Camryn Doub protected the Falcons’ front line.
Kills from Jordyn Coe and Madison Goins brought the Eagles within two points before Forbush pulled ahead once again. Consistency issues were a big focus for Tolbert after the game, stating that the team has trouble maintaining advantages.
Forbush wouldn’t surrender the lead for the remainder of the second set. The closest Surry Central got to a comeback was 18-15, to which the Falcons proceeded to score three straight to jump back ahead. Forbush won the second set 25-20.
Tolbert lit a fire under her team before the third set. As a result, the Golden Eagles took a 4-0 advantage to start the third set. The teams traded points for a while before Jaylyn Templeton served Central to a 12-5 lead.
Then, the inconsistency of Surry Central reared its ugly head. Ebony Williams served the Falcons to six straight points to cut the lead to just two. An attacking and service error put Central back ahead by four, but Forbush proceeded to take a 16-14 lead that forced an Eagle timeout.
Garland and Simpson each had kills that helped tie the game at 17-all. Forbush and Surry Central traded possession before a kill from McMillen and an ace by Templeton put the Lady Eagles back on top, 21-20.
Doub and Warfel responded with kills of their own to regain the lead. Forbush had a chance to take the match at 24-21, but left Central alive with an attacking error. The Lady Falcons went on to win the next point and take the third set 25-22.
Forbush remains in first place with an undefeated record of 9-0. The Falcons will host West Stokes on Tuesday and Atkins on Thursday in East Bend.
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