DOBSON, N.C. — In a pivotal match between the top two teams in Region X, the 16th-ranked Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team prevailed in straight sets against host Surry Community College.
With the victory, CVCC head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson earns her 300th career coaching win in her 10th season at the helm of the Red Hawks program.
"Surry is always competitive, so we knew we had to really prepare for this match," Hudson said. "They always play really up at home, so we've been working the past few days on how to beat them and what we need to do. We came out really slow to start. The first set was a struggle. We didn't play very clean at all. We picked it up in the second set, and the third set was really phenomenal."
The Red Hawks (22-8, 8-0 in Region X) trailed for most of the first set against the Knights (15-4, 8-1), but rallied with the score 24-19 on the serve of setter Emilee Webber to win the set in extra points, 28-26.
"She's one of the leading servers on our team," Hudson said of Webber. "That was the rotation to rally on. Row one is one of our strongest rotation. We just had to play clean and aggressive, which is something we didn't do at the beginning of the set. We just played really sloppy and weren't crisp. Behind that serve, we played some really good defense and got some good attacks. That helped us out for sure."
From that point on, Catawba Valley maintained control of the match for good and overcame 26 errors, winning the final two sets 25-20 and 25-8.
Emma Clark and Sage Harrington led the Red Hawks offensively with 14 and 11 kills each, while sophomore libero Emily Williams made 21 digs on defense.
Following the match, Red Hawk players quickly made their way to the locker room and emerged with a banner commemorating Hudson's 300th coaching victory at CVCC.
Hudson said the 300 wins are special, but she couldn't have achieved that mark alone.
"Honestly, I think more about the players who have come through the program," she said. "When I think about memories, some big games stand out — some district wins and some big wins at the national tournament — but for me, we had a few of our alumni in the crowd and just seeing them and knowing that I've had the chance to make a difference in their lives — that's what it's all about. When I think about the wins, I think about the players who helped me get to those 300 wins."
Up next for the CVCC volleyball team are four matches against Region X competition in two days on Friday and Saturday — all on the road.
The Red Hawks travel Friday to play a tri-match in Louisburg, N.C. Catawba Valley faces host Louisburg College at 4 p.m. followed by a 5:30 p.m. match with Cape Fear Community College.
On Saturday, CVCC travels to Kinston, N.C. to take on Lenoir Community College at 10 a.m. before hitting the road later that afternoon for a 2:30 p.m. match at Fayetteville Tech in Fayetteville, N.C.
Hudson said Tuesday's match against Surry gave her team something to improve upon as it heads into the final stretch of the 2018 season.
"I think the first set was an eye opener that we've got to come out strong," Hudson said. "It doesn't really matter who you are playing. We've got to come out stronger than we did tonight. We've got to play cleaner to be competitive to win the big games. I think that was a good lesson for us. It's not an easy lesson, but it was a good lesson for us tonight just knowing that we've got to finish."