Red Hawks stun No. 19 Surry, improve to 7-2 in Region

Red Hawks stun No. 19 Surry, improve to 7-2 in Region

HICKORY, N.C. — Wednesday night's performance by the Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team was a bright spot in what has been a challenging season so far this fall.

The Red Hawks knocked off No. 21 Surry in four sets, handing the Knights their first loss in Region 10 play this fall.

"With the all of the adversity we've faced this year, including a lot of key injuries and a quarantine, it was nice to bound back," said Catawba Valley head volleyball coach Madison Pogue. "The girls realized that if they can play together and play for each together that they can do anything they set their minds to."

Catawba Valley, which fell at Surry on Sept. 21 to end a historic 158-match win streak in conference play and 198-match win streak in Region competition, came out Wednesday ready for some payback.

The Red Hawks seized early control in the match, winning a hard-fought set one, 25-21.

"I think for the first time tonight we played for each other," said Red Hawk sophomore outside hitter Carter Gibson. "Our energy was there the whole match. It never dropped."

CVCC tried to build its lead in set two and got out to a 24-20 lead. However, during the final stages of the set, the Red Hawks dropped six straight points and eventually the set to the Knights, 26-24.

After the difficult set loss, Pogue had some words of encouragement for her players.

"I told them that it's all about coming together and making sure that we all play for one another through adversity," she said. "I thought they did very well with that tonight."

Set three would feature more back-and-forth action between the Red Hawks and Knights with Catawba Valley using 15 kills in the set to edge out the 25-23 win to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

"It just felt really good to be out there," said sophomore libero Abbey Smith, who tied her season high with 29 digs. "No one let up at any moment."

Tied 7-7 early in set four, the Red Hawks reeled off five consecutive points, including a kill each from Gibson and middle hitters Kennya Sykes and Hayley Stull, to gain control en route to the 25-18 set four win and 3-1 match victory.

Gibson said Wednesday's win sets the tone for the entire Red Hawk volleyball team for the rest of the season.

"This has lit a fire," Gibson said. "We played the best volleyball tonight that we played all season. Now that we know that's how we can play, that is how we are going to continue to play. No one can stop us."

The Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team returns to action this weekend for four matches at the Wallace State Fall Bash in Hanceville, Ala.

The Red Hawks play two matches on Friday, including against host Wallace State at 4 p.m. and Gadsden State Community College at 8 p,m.

Catawba Valley wraps up play at the event on Saturday with a 10 a.m. match against Snead State Community College and a 2 p.m. match versus Coastal Alabama-South.

"Wednesday was a very big win," Pogue said. "I am very proud. At this point, it's the last push to finish off conference play on the right foot."