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Volleyball: Central back on track after wins over Cambridge, Mountain View
Sarah Pipping
Forsyth Central junior Sarah Pipping spikes a ball Tuesday during the Bulldogs 2-1 win against Cambridge. - photo by David Roberts

Sarannah Enchill leapt, cocked her arm back and sent the ball screaming over the net. 

Cambridge's defense was in the right position, but never stood a chance. The ball ricocheted off a defender and rolled off the court for a Forsyth Central point.

The Bulldogs' bench erupted in excitement. Head coach Brian Welsch walked over to Enchill's sister, sitting in the bleachers three rows up, and gave her a fist bump.

"Getting our middles involved is something we've started to see last night and tonight," Welsch said. "It's exciting when players step in and fill a hard role to fill, which is predominantly defense and predominantly blocking, then they get a chance to score. That's the hardest ball she hit all night. She legitimately probably touches higher than anybody on the team, and getting it just to click was like, 'Wow.'"

Sarannah Enchill
Forsyth Central senior Malone Davis, left, and junior Sarannah Enchill block a shot Tuesday during a 2-1 win against Mountain View. - photo by David Roberts
Enchill's kill swung the momentum in Central's favor, which the Bulldogs used to win the second set, and ultimately the decisive third set, and Central swept Mountain View and Cambridge on Tuesday, winning each match 2-1.

Central beat Mountain View 23-25, 25-18, 15-11 and prevailed against Cambridge 13-25, 25-21, 15-13.

The Bulldogs dropped the first set in both matches, but each time they rallied to win the second set and the tiebreaker.

Central lost its first three Area 6-7A matches — falling to Lambert, North Forsyth and West Forsyth — but Welsch said he hopes Tuesday's sweep gets the Bulldogs back on track. 

"We've struggled a little bit with some cohesion," Welsch said. "We've got a lot of experience and a lot of people bringing a lot of firepower, but tying it all together has been our weakness to open up region play. For us, this was about reevaluating and hitting the reset button, and just throwing some different lineups out there."

Central trailed Cambridge 15-13 in the first set Tuesday but watched as the Bears won 10 straight points to take the set. 

Back-to-back aces by Emma Kiser helped Central out to a 12-9 advantage in the second set, then Sarah Pipping's kill, combined with Enchill's thunderous spike, allowed the Bulldogs to take control of the set. 

Pipping opened the third set with a kill, then ended the match with a kill on a similar play. In between, she tallied a pair of aces and another kill, finishing with 10 kills, three aces and two blocks against Cambridge.

Pipping was one of six Central players who had at least one ace, joining Kiser, Riese Johnson, Megan McCarthy, Natalie Roberts and Malone Davis.

"We've got a really strong serving team and we've got a really aggressive offense. We're playing some really good defense, but I would say right now serving is definitely one of our strong points," Welsch said. "Serving is always a high-risk, high-reward situation. You're going to get a lot of aces, but you're also going to take a chance to miss a lot of serves. I try to give them a little bit longer of a leash and some leeway. I'll take an error or two here and there as long as our ratio is good."

Davis, Central's right-side hitter, had a team-high nine kills against Mountain View.

The Bulldogs (11-9, 0-3 Area 6-7A) got off to a fast start this season, winning seven of their first 10 matches and shooting up to No. 6 in the Class 7A polls, but began evening out earlier this month.  

"One of the things that we've really been working on is trying to eliminate the errors," Welsch said. "If we can eliminate our zero-option passes and give our setter a chance to give a hitter a chance, that gives everybody a chance. And if we've got a chance, I think we can fight with just about anybody."

Central will return from fall break next week, as the Bulldogs host South Forsyth at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

"I think I want us to come back with a little bit of confidence," Welsch said. "I want us to come back with a little bit more morale and a little bit more team chemistry. I think that it's going to be exciting. I truly believe that we have the ability to play with anybody in our region, and with that, probably anybody in the state when things are rolling. 

Central_volleyball1
Forsyth Central players celebrate Tuesday after beating Cambridge 2-1. - photo by David Roberts