By Jason S Rufner
Special to Viva Loudoun
Richmond (Nov. 21, 2013) – Perhaps the most successful season in Broad Run High School girls volleyball history came to a close Thursday in the semifinal round of the VHSL Group 5A state tournament, held inside Virginia Commonwealth University’s Stuart C. Siegel Center.
After an opening set victory, the Spartans struggled to find consistency against taller Atlee and succumbed with a 3-1 loss (23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-20).
“Overall it was a great season. The girls played well and there’s nothing to be upset about,” Broad Run coach Ellen Roberts said.
The Spartans started strong. Rachel Hendricks and Elise Dumouchelle knocked a flurry of kills past the Raiders’ defense, and Broad Run answered a late 5-0 Atlee run with a 3-0 run of its own to capture the first set.
“The first set we came out excited and brought that onto the court,” Roberts said.
Atlee came out firing in set number 2, running out to a 10-4 lead. The Hendricks-led Spartans stormed back to within one, necessitating an Atlee timeout. But the momentum was not maintained and Atlee got the equalizer.
The third set seesawed until Atlee surged past Broad Run with a prolonged run to clinch the go-ahead set.
The superior height of the girls from Mechanicsville came to the fore in the deciding set, ending the Spartans’ season.
“As we went into the second set, I think our energy calmed down a little bit and we had too many errors,” senior libero Taylor Austin assessed.
Austin bumped up 20 digs, while Katie Maloney dug up 11. Dumouchelle was credited with 12 kills and 10 digs, while linemate Hendricks was the Spartans’ heaviest hitter with 18 kills.
They were aided by Katie Maloney’s 36 assists. Hendricks also provided four digs and three service aces.
But Broad Run was unable to deal with Atlee’s duo of Maddie French and Clarke Tyler, who combined for nine blocks and 29 kills.
Broad Run finishes its campaign with a 22-10 mark and its first state semifinal appearance since 1997. Roberts will deal with the graduation of seniors Austin, Hendricks, Sam King and Marisa Ahmed.
“Definitely the most successful season we’ve had,” Roberts said. “We’d been trying to get over that hump of regionals, and we did it this year.”
Atlee, the Group 5A South champs, will face Broad Run’s Ashburn rival Stone Bridge for the state title Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at VCU.
Jason S Rufner will be on hand Saturday to cover the state 4A and 5A volleyball finals so check back to Viva Loudoun for full coverage!