The path taken toward victory by the Cary volleyball team on Thursday against Wake Forest was anything but easy. Coach Philip Goodloe’s team dropped the opening set, had to overcome a nine-point deficit in the fourth game and trailed 7-1 in the decisive final frame. All sure signs of a loss.
But by night’s end, the Imps remained unbeaten after they topped Wake Forest 3-2 in five sets (22-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-23, 15-12) thanks to a collective sense of togetherness and perseverance.
With the win, Cary (3-0) has already won as many games this year as it did in the last two combined.
“We just never gave up,” Goodloe said. “Normally I tell them that in the last game, you usually either win 15-13 or you lose like 15-3. I’m out of words. We were down 7-1 and came back ripping on serves.”
While he acknowledged that he’ll have to wait until the Imps begin to face SWAC opponents to truly learn more about his team, Goodloe said he’s encouraged by what he’s seen.
“I’ve got a bunch of repeat players,” Goodloe said. “A little bit more skill has come through the pipe.”
As gratifying and enjoyable the match was for the Imps, it was equally disheartening for a Wake Forest (2-1) squad that looked poised to earn its second win in one week’s time after going winless in 2015.
“There are a lot of things I’m a little bit disappointed in,” first-year Wake Forest coach Katherine Jacob said. “Just little stuff. They played a really good game and I’m proud of them for that, but they have to go back to basics with stuff, including passing and just giving their 110 percent.”
As Goodloe pointed out, large comebacks in fifth sets are very rare, so the Imps’ ability to shut down Wake Forest and end the match on a 14-5 run was unexpected and crucial.
THEY SAID IT
“It’s been really exciting, considering last season we did not do well at all. I feel like our chemistry has gotten a lot better and the team is just pushing for it. Hopefully we’ll win even more games in the future.” – Cary opposite hitter Angela Tipton on the 2016 season to this point.
THREE TO KNOW
Elizabeth Scheer, Cary: Goodloe credited his setter for saving her best for the fourth and final sets when his team had its back up against the wall.
“She’s the one who ran off two big runs of serves. A big run in the fourth game and one in the fifth game,” Goodloe said.
Elizabeth Baron, Cary: The middle hitter played a big role for the Imps, recording a team-high 12 kills.
Savannah Strawbridge, Wake Forest: A force on the outside, the junior helped power the Cougars’ attack for much of the night.