(Oct. 1, 2013) – It would seem nearly impossible for the Loudoun County High School girls volleyball team to reach new heights, but then again the Raiders may be doing that this season simply by walking on the court. Featuring a roster of five players 6-foot or taller, Loudoun County dominated at the net and swept rival Stone Bridge Monday (25-18, 25-19, 25-19) night in a highly-anticipated match-up of two unbeaten programs.
For the vaunted Loudoun County program, the win not only avenged their only loss from last season, it also helped the Raiders reach the 200-win plateau since their incredible championship run started in 2006. In less than eight seasons the Raiders have captured five state titles while posting an amazing 200-11 mark.
Maybe the highest praise for Loudoun County after winning their 26th straight match Monday came from coach Jenica Brown who said the 2013 squad reminds her of the 2007 Raiders which went undefeated and took home of first of four straight AA state titles.
“There really isn’t a true weakness right now,” said Brown.
Nobody that witnessed Monday’s match would argue that point as Loudoun County (9-0) took control early in each of the three sets and never let Stone Bridge (11-1), one of the top AAA teams in the state the last several years, find its rhythm. While there were some jaw-dropping rallies and the Bulldogs fought back in each of the three sets before faltering at the end, it always felt like Loudoun County was in firm control.
“It’s just great volleyball. I hope we gave the fans their money’s worth tonight,” said Stone Bridge coach Jill Raschiatore. “They just controlled the ball better than we did.”
After a brief 3-2 lead in set one, Stone Bridge — with its tallest player on the roster listed at 5-11 — could not involve the big home crowd in the match much as Stone Bridge’s next lead didn’t come until 6-5 in the third set.
Raschiatore said the match against such a tough foe should pay dividends for Stone Bridge down the road and it may even pay off as early as tonight as the Bulldogs face another unbeaten program in Liberty District foe James Madison. Loudoun County tonight hosts up-and-coming second year program John Champe.
For Loudoun County, the game is simply the first check box in a list of goals that almost always ends at the VHSL state finals with the team winning championships in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 and finishing runner-up in 2006 and in the Final Four in 2011.
” The girls now feel like they have accomplished their first goal,” said Brown.
The Raiders were led by 6-3 sophomore Taylor Borup (15 kills, 2 digs), 6-0 senior Maggie Phillips (12 kills, 7 digs, 7 service points, 2 aces), 6-2 senior Jane Feddersen (6 kills, 4 blocks, 3 digs), and 5-10 senior Mandy Powers (22 assists, 5 digs, 2 kills, 4 service points, 1 block). Also contributing for the deep Raiders were 6-0 junior Hannah Vandegrift (12 assists, 3 blocks, 2 kills, 2 digs), 5-11 junior Emily Solis (10 digs, 11 service points, 3 aces, 1 assist), 5-7 senior Kelsey Anderson (9 digs, 10 service points, 1 assist), 5-5 senior Kelsey Slack (11 digs, 3 service points), 5-6 junior Hannah Brenneman (4 service points, 1 dig), 5-10 junior Olivia Aycock (1 kill, 1 assist), and 6-0 sophomore Rachel Voketaitis (1 kill, 1 dig).
Stone Bridge was led by the trio of 5-11 senior Libby Haslett (13 kills, 1 assist, 2 digs), 5-7 sophomore Ashlyn Dunlop (9 kills, 7 digs, 1 ace) and 5-10 junior Shannon Williams (8 kills, 1 block, 9 digs). Setter, 5-8 senior Cydney Gill had 37 assists and 8 digs with 2 aces and defensive specialist, 5-5 senior Sarah Fairchild had 25 digs. Megan Bryn, a 5-9 senior, had 11 digs. Also for Stone Bridge: 5-11 senior Megan Ellis (2 kills, 1 block, 3 digs), 5-10 junior Amy Gottschling (1 kills, 2 digs), 5-7 junior Bianca Mostert (1 dig) and 5-10 junior Karina Nyman (4 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs).
The first set Monday set the tone for the night as Loudoun County pulled away early, going up 11-6 and then Stone Bridge fought back, tying it up 14-14, only to have the Raiders answer with a run to get a comfortable lead.
In set 1, with the score tied at 16-16, the Raiders reeled off six straight points with Powers starting the run with a kill. The Bulldogs had trouble in the serve-receive game during this stretch with Anderson keeping Stone Bridge off-balanced with a crafty serve.
At 22-18, the Raiders ended the set with Voketaitis collecting a kill and then Borup with back-to-back put aways.
The Raider momentum continued into set 2 as County jumped up 7-2. Stone Bridge worked its way back to a 10-10 tie but County took control at 14-12 with four straight points starting with a kill on the outside by Feddersen and then Solis snuck in an ace. Powers and Feddersen then teamed for a block and a Bulldog error on the next rally made it 18-12 County.
Stone Bridge cut that lead in half several times but at 22-19, County’s most experienced player, Phillips, put the hammer down on a powerful kill and on the next point, Borup loomed large over the net to destroy an errant pass. At set point it was Borup, in full beast mode for the finishing flourish, showing why she became one of the youngest college verbal commits in Loudoun County history when she chose the University of North Carolina last year at age 14.
Stone Bridge, led by Williams, went up 8-5 in the third set but County chipped away at the lead, catching Stone Bridge at 10-10. It was the Raider block and even a dink from setter Aycock that put the Raiders up for good.
The Bulldogs made adjustments throughout the evening but the Raiders had the resources to counter, even changing their offensive formation in the second set after Stone Bridge had found a defensive combination that was working. With the score 19-16, County took advantage of a Bulldog hitting error and then Vandegrift dumped a set into a blind spot in the Stone Bridge defense.
Dunlop had a nice kill for Stone Bridge to make it 21-17 but the Raiders answered right back with a kill by Borup and then Solis scored off a service winner. Moments later the Raiders were celebrating the non-district sweep.
Freshman/JV Report from Raiders:
The Freshmen Raiders lost a hard fought match to Stone Bridge 17-25, 25-21, 15-17. Leading the Raiders’ charge were Hannah Hickman (3 kills, 2 aces), Sela Carrington (4 kills, 2 aces), Cammie Warter (3 aces), Kaitlyn Nguyen (2 kills, 1 ace), Lindsay Olzawksi (3 kills), Caylee Cummings (1 kill), Charlotte Mullins (1 ace), Hannah Sauer (3 kills). The Freshmen team dropped their record to 7-2 on the season.
The JV Raiders fought tough but dropped their match versus Stone Bridge 19-25, 17-25. The Raiders were led by Abby Wright (5 kills), Logan Roberstadd (8 assists, 1 ace), Rachael Cullen (2 aces, 2 kills). The Raiders’ record drops to 8-4 on the season.