One-and-a-half sets into Tuesday’s match at Nash Central High School, Wilson Fike looked miles ahead of Nash Central.
The Bulldogs did awake to mount a late challenge, but the top team in the Big East Conference stayed perfect.
The Golden Demons improved to 7-0 in the conference with a 3-0 victory.
Fike ran away with a 25-5 win in the first set when Nash Central struggled to receive serves and make successful passes. Only once in the set did the Bulldogs win back-to-back points.
Even though the Golden Demons were the favorite, the Bulldogs thought they weren’t giving themselves much of a chance with so many mistakes.
“They weren’t doing anything. It was all us,” Nash Central senior Brittani Strickland said.
Nash Central (5-11, 3-4 Big East) took a 3-1 lead to begin the second set only to allow Fike to make an 11-0 run immediately following its positive start.
Aided by a timeout called by coach Frank Poyer, Nash Central worked its way back into the contest and nearly stole the second set. After trailing, 13-3, Nash Central twice came within two points late in the set before Fike held on to win.
“Overall, I’m glad the way they recovered,” Poyer said. “It’s just a matter of people wanting to do it. I know they’re good, but they’re not that good that they’re out of our reach.”
Nash Central again played close with Fike for most of the third set.
The Golden Demons were able to make a 7-0 run that gave them a 21-10 lead, but Nash Central made Fike struggle to close out the set.
Once Nash Central realized it wasn’t totally overmatched, Poyer said it became a different team.
“The girls just have to tell themselves they can play with them,” Poyer said. “I’m not taking anything away from (Fike). They’re not out of reach. They did some good things, had some kills, but it’s not like we were outrageously outplayed.”
For the Bulldogs players, the change began to happen when they started to enjoy themselves.
“We just learned to have fun,” Strickland said. “We don’t give up. Our season hasn’t been very good, so we’re just having fun now.”
Wilson Fike 3
Nash Central 0
25-5, 25-22, 25-20
NC Leaders: Brittani Strickland - 13 kills; Nicole Aguerriberry - 1 kill; Emily Engleking - 1 kill, 1 block.
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or npiotrowicz@ rmtelegram.com