By Dan Sousa
Viva Loudoun Editor
Ashburn (Nov. 8, 2013) – The Conference 14 girls volleyball championship match Thursday felt personal as the finals pitted Ashburn rival high schools Broad Run and Stone Bridge against each other.
“You want to be known as the best in Ashburn,” said Stone Bridge junior tri-captain Shannon Williams. “We want to be the Kings of Ashburn or maybe I should say the Queens of Ashburn.”
It was a royal sweep for Williams and company as the Bulldogs — never trailing once on the evening — took the Spartans in straight sets, 25-15, 25-19, 25-20.
The championship earned Stone Bridge (22-2) a bye into next Tuesday’s 5A North Region tournament quarterfinals. Broad Run (17-8) will host JEB Stuart on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. in a first round 5A North match.
Both the Bulldogs and Spartans were pumped Thursday to play each other for a championship.
“We know a lot these girls. You know the fans. You know the people yelling at you,” said Stone Bridge senior setter Cydney Gill.
Broad Run, coming off an emotional win Tuesday in the semifinals at Briar Woods where the Spartans rallied from two sets down and then rallied in the fifth set for a dramatic 18-16 win, fell behind early Thursday and when Broad Run did catch up, Stone Bridge was able to pull back ahead each time.
“It is all mental. We would catch up and then we would take it easy,” said Broad Run coach Ellen Roberts.
Stone Bridge coach Jill Raschiatore and staff have been making some tweaks during the season that has their team clicking and she likes they way her girls are playing.
“They have got that fire,” said Raschiatore pointing out that the Bulldogs are living up to the huge team photo that greets fans entering the gym which reads: “One Heart … One Team … One Mission”
It also helps that the Bulldogs have had several years of deep runs in the state playoffs, just falling short of a state title.
“We have five seniors on the court at any give time and that helps tremendously as they aren’t going to suddenly panic,” said Raschiatore.
Stone Bridge senior Megan Bryn’s service game got the Bulldogs going in set one as she served seven straight points as Stone Bridge jumped up 15-4. During that run Gill and senior Megan Ellis combined for a block, senior Libby Haslett showed big ups with a kill, Williams had a kill, and Gill put away a ball all while Bryn’s serve kept the Spartans off balance.
In the second set, Stone Bridge did not waste any time again, going up 8-1 with Haslett serving for six straight points. During this run, super sophomore Ashlyn Dunlop had a trio of kills.
In the third set, things were tied at 9-9 when Haslett had back-to-back kills. From then on, each time Broad Run would score a point or two, Stone Bridge would answer in kind. A couple of Dunlop service winners late in the third set ended any hopes of a Spartan comeback like Tuesday.
Raschiatore thought the real winner might be all the Conference 14 teams moving on after playing such a tough tournament.
“It helps us all as the teams in the conference are all so tough. It helps us all get better by having to play better volleyball,” said Raschiatore.
Stone Bridge Stats
Broad Run Stats
Katie Maloney – 11 assists, 4 digs, 1 block
Ashley Tupman – 3 assists, 1 dig, 1 kill
Sam King – 1 ace, 3 digs, 4 kills, 2 blocks
Carmen Ritter – 2 kills, 3 blocks
Rachel Hendricks – 4 digs, 7 kills
Elise Dumouchelle – 2 aces, 2 kills, 2 blocks
Taylor Austin – 16 digs, 1 assist, 1 ace