It has been close to eight months since public schools in North Carolina played any sports.
The difficult circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic made it hard to say when sports would return. Still, finally, after eight long months, public school started playing sports again in Wayne County on Wednesday.
And the excitement in the gym was palpable as the Goldsboro volleyball team traveled to Seven Springs to take on Spring Creek. The Cougars swept the Gators 25-6, 25- 9. 25-11, but Goldsboro head coach Pam Tart said the real win was just getting on the court for an actual game.
“We’ve been waiting for the moment, and the moment finally came,” Tart said. “The kids have looked forward to it. They talked about it and talked about it, and it finally came.
“We’re just excited to be playing.”
Goldsboro showed its feisty mentality in the opening set.
The Cougars started the first set on a 9-3 run, including a kill and a block from Hallie Brown, and forced the Gators to call a timeout.
An ace from Anna Miranda stretched the margin to 13-6. Miranda’s ace sparked an 11-0 run, and Brown’s kill gave the Cougars a 24-6 lead late in the opening set.
“They played well, and we made adjustments early on,” Tart said. “The biggest thing is communication because we haven’t played together in a while, and just trying to play as a unit right now.”
In the second set, the Gators took a 1-0 lead, but the Cougars quickly ran past the Gators. Brianna Moye tallied two kills as Goldsboro pulled ahead 8-1 and never looked back, winning the second set 25-9.
The Cougars continued to flex their muscles in the third set and pushed ahead 19-7. Brown and Moye finished off the Gators with kills that stretched Goldsboro’s lead 24-7.
The Gators regained their composure for a point and cut the Cougars’ lead down to 24-8, but it proved too little too late, and Goldsboro won the third set 25-8.
Goldsboro (1-0 overall) hosts Spring Creek (0-1) for a rematch on Thursday.
“We expect to do very well in the conference this year, but we know it’s one game at a time.” Tart said.