Eastern Alamance’s volleyball team headed into the final week of its regular season carrying the momentum of a pair of key conference wins over Rockingham and Morehead. The Eagles claimed a four set triumph over Rockingham on the road the evening of Tuesday, October 8, and then returned home two days later and defeated Morehead, also in a four-set victory. EAHS also fell in a four-set loss at Williams earlier in the week, on Monday, October 7.
The Williams match was an absolute war - a showdown of two evenly-matched teams who played each and every set down to the wire. EAHS suffered a pair of heartbreaking 25-23 setbacks in the first two sets, and then managed to win the third set by that same 25-23 score. The fourth set was much of the same, as the teams battled back and forth, point by point. But once again the Eagles came out on the short end, suffering a 25-23 loss to lose the match.
Despite the defeat, it was a banner match for EAHS sophomores Kamari Mims and Loren Crabbe, with Mims contributing 20 kills against the Bulldogs, and Crabbe adding 16 kills. Senior Madison Hartley added four service aces and 24 setting assists against Williams, while junior Reagan Hartley produced 20 digs, junior Maddie Smith 12 assists, and sophomore Tanyla Smith two blocks.
The loss to Williams was a tough pill to swallow for the Eagles, but they were fortunate to get back on track in Wentworth, as they traveled to Rockingham and got off to a fast start with a 25-14 first set win over the Cougars. The opening set was huge for EAHS, as the match with Rockingham suddenly turned into a repeat of the Williams match.
EAHS had to slug it out to win the second set over the Cougars, as it went beyond the normal 25-point parameters into extra time. But a pair of key points down the stretch gave Eastern a 27-25 win, and a 2-0 advantage.
With their backs to the wall, Rockingham fought their way to a 25-23 win in the third set, extending the match to a fourth set. Eastern kept fighting, however, and surged into the lead in the fourth set. With a 25-24 lead, the Eagles managed to come through on match point, earning a 26-24 win, and the match.
Things were a little bit easier for Eastern against Morehead than they were against Williams and Rockingham, as the Eagles surged to a 2-0 lead in sets with 25-15 and 25-16 victories in the opening pair of frames. But despite their early deficit, the Panthers rallied and managed to knock off the Eagles 25-23 in the third set. EAHS pulled itself together and reclaimed control, earning a 25-14 victory to take its second straight match.
Now the Eagles look ahead to Tuesday’s rematch with Western, who gave the Eagles a devastating overtime loss in Elon earlier this fall. For the Eagles, who stand at 9-9 overall and 6-6 in Mid-State Conference play, a win over the Warriors would be huge. Not only would it guarantee a double-digit victory regular season for the Eagles, but it would ensure that Eastern would finish at least .500 in conference play.
EAHS closes out the regular season on Thursday with a road match at McMichael, and will then participate in next week’s Mid-State Conference tournament, where they hope to earn a couple key victories to improve their chances of earning a spot in the NCHSAA playoffs.