EAST BEND — Coach Ginger Hamric summarized the Forbush volleyball team’s season — so far — as “a little up and down.”
And a Tuesday night home match was a solid upswing for the Falcons. In just three sets, Forbush routed North Forsyth 25-9, 25-9, 25-7 to pick up another Western Piedmont Athletic 2-A win.
It was Hamric’s 10th victory since taking the helm of the Falcons (10-8, 8-1) before the start of the season. She replaced Taylor Carangi, who in just a year as coach led the team to a 22-5 record last season and third-round appearance in the NCHSAA Class 2-A playoffs. Before leading the Falcons, Hamric spent 29 seasons as the coach at Catawba, leading its Division II program to 536 wins before resigning in January.
For Hamric, her stint at Forbush feels like “home.” And likely because it once was. She graduated from Forbush in 1981, and was a standout volleyball player with the Falcons before leading Appalachian State to a Southern Conference championship three years later as a captain.
Hamric pointed to a blue-and-red banner behind her on the wall of the gym— a list of the Falcons’ conference championships — noting some of the years listed were from “her era.”
Tuesday’s match against the Vikings (1-15, 1-6) marked the fifth straight conference victory for Hamric’s team since a 3-1 loss to Surry Central on Sept. 12. It was a bounce back for the Falcons as well, following a 3-0 rout to West Wilkes in Millers Creek in a nonconference match a day earlier.
Hamric saw takeaways from the Falcons’ win over the Vikings ahead of another match against Surry Central on Oct. 8.
“We’re going to really try and mix up our offense — (Surry Central) picked us apart with serve, so we’ve worked on our serve-receive a lot,” said Hamric, who also coached at Mount Airy from 1985 to 1989 and won two state titles in Class 2-A with the Granite Bears. “So I think we’ll be ready.”
Against North Forsyth, Hamric also noted solid performance from sophomore Addison Harrell. That began early, as the Falcons took the first set.
A spike from Harrell pushed Forbush ahead 16-8. She then took serve, and the Falcons won the next six points. North Forsyth mustered just two more points, before Laiken Baity took serve for the Falcons to end the set.
Forbush only widened its lead in the second set. Ahead 5-1, the team won four straight points — the first scoring off a spike from Parkley Hennings — with junior Salem Finney taking serve.
Hennings also noted, like Hamric, that the season has been somewhat up and down but the Falcons have bounced back
“I think we started out slow, honestly,” Finney said. “We shouldn’t have. But we picked it up by the third set.”
Forbush jumped to a lead again after Sommer Gray, one of just five seniors on the 11-player team along with Hennings, took serve. Forbush strung together 12 points to push ahead 15-2 before a shot from Hennings landed out. North Forsyth managed to score just another five points in the set.
Coach Kamika Mack of North Forsyth called the season another year of growth for the Vikings, after taking over the program in 2017. She said the team has been in a rebuilding phase since taking the reigns. According to Mack, she played three years on the volleyball team at North Forsyth before graduating in 2008.
Mack said one of the challenges of rebuilding is the school population and smaller pool of potential players. North Forsyth moved down from Class 3-A to 2-A to start the 2019-20 school year.
But the passion is there.
“With getting that is also getting girls in the gym. But I’m happy to say that with all the girls we have here, like look at those smiles,” Mack said, pausing and pointing at a group of her players laughing near the bleachers after the match. “One thing about them is they’re never going to get down and they’re going to keep coming in the gym. That’s one thing I’ve always credited to my girls — no matter what happens, they’re going to keep coming in the gym.”