By Jason S Rufner
Special to Viva Loudoun
Richmond (Nov. 21, 2013) – The Loudoun County High School girls volleyball squad encountered little resistance in their VHSL 4A state semifinal match Thursday at VCU, taking less than an hour to waltz past Grafton with scores of 25-13, 25-18 and 25-11.
The win is the Raiders’ 30th in as many matches this season, and their 48th in a row. They up their streak of consecutive sets won to 79, and have allowed an opponent as many as 20 points in a set just once this postseason.
On Saturday night versus 4A South champion Jamestown, Loudoun County will go for its sixth state championship in the last seven years. The match starts at 5 p.m. at VCU’s Siegel Center in Richmond.
“Right now, it’s just about keeping everybody on board to finish out what we have to do on Saturday,” stated County coach Jenica Brown, who has guided the Raiders to their state-record five volleyball titles.
“They’re all working hard for it. And when these girls work hard against each other in practice, it’s some of the best volleyball you’ve ever seen.”
As the Loudoun County student fan group, the Raider Riot, rattled the rafters of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center with raucous support, County’s customary combination of efficient passing and dominant front-line play overwhelmed the Clippers from the opening serve.
“We knew they had a big hitter [Kendall Mahony] and we had to follow her wherever she went,” Brown said. “They hit at us hard so we had to close in our blocks on them.”
Eight different Raiders tallied kills in the match, led by Taylor Borup’s nine, Maggie Phillips’ six and Jane Feddersen’s six.
Mandy Powers added four kills when she wasn’t setting up her 21 assists.
The back-row tandem of Kelsey Slack and Kelsey Anderson bumped up 16 and 10 digs respectively, while Feddersen contributed defensively with seven blocks.
Familiarity with the venue figures to prove valuable for the Raiders, who are playing in downtown Richmond for the eighth straight autumn.
“It’s definitely nice for confidence, knowing the arena,” said senior outside hitter Maggie Phillips, who has performed in the Siegel Center annually for County’s volleyball and basketball teams.
“It sort of eliminates the nerves factor. I can see confidence when I look at the other girls on the court.”
Jason Rufner is following the Raiders quest for a 6th state title in seven years. Check back on Saturday for his championship story!