Richmond, VA (November 21, 2015) – Yesterday was another reminder of why Loudoun County is becoming the volleyball capital of Virginia. Viva Loudoun was there with two photographers and will be posting photos of all three local high schools who participated in the state championships.
4A State Championship
At 5:00 Loudoun County (26-2) took the floor at the VCU Siegel Center for the 4A state championship. For the Raiders the Siegel Center is kind of like a second home, having finished nine of the last ten seasons playing there for state championship. County’s opponent was the Jamestown Eagles (25-4). While the Eagles kept it close and took game two, the Raiders had well-rounded attacking from senior Taylor Borup to freshman Ashley Rubino that proved too tough. In the end Loudoun County took the match in four games (25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18)
For the five seniors on the Loudoun County roster (Rachel Voketaitis, Lauren Topper, Taylor Borup, Logan Robberstad, and Abby Wright) they leave having won the state tournament every season of their high school career. For Coach Sherrilyn Hanna this is her second year as Raider head coach and her second state title with a career record of 55-4. For Loudoun County this is their eighth state championship which gives them the most of any team at any class in the state of Virginia.
One trivia question Viva is tracking down is: Has Loudoun County ever won a state title without a member of the Hanna family either on the court as a player or one the bench as a coach?
5A State Championship
At 7:00 the Stone Bridge Bulldogs and the Potomac Falls Panthers took the floor for the final match of the day, the 5A State title match. Neither team had ever won a state title before, and for PFalls it was head coach Linda Lachey-Helms’ last match as the only head coach in Potomac Falls history. This was also her first trip to the state championship. For The Panthers (21-9) this was the culmination of an historic post-season run, finishing third in conference, losing to Briar Woods in the conference tournament and having to win the district consolation game to proceed to regionals. Once in, they won four regional road matches, including the finals match against Stone Bridge, to win the 5A North region. The victory against Miles Godwin at home for the State semi-final earned them a trip to Richmond.
Stone Bridge (25-2) entered the Siegel Center with a team desire to finally scratch that state championship itch. Stone Bridge had twice (2010, 2013) lost in the state championship and last year lost in the state semi-finals to Princess Anne. After a fantastic regular season, winning the conference tournament, Stone Bridge lost in 5 to PFalls in the regional championship. That forced a repeat of last year’s trip to Virginia Beach to play Princess Anne HS. Like last year’s state semi-final match they lost the first two sets rather handily. But in dramatic fashion, they deviated from last year’s turn of events and won the next three sets, including a 10-20 comeback in game four and a 15-13 win in game five. The win stamped their return ticket to the state final championship for the third time.
The first three matches were everything fans expected from the fourth meeting between two great teams. Stone Bridge took game one 25-23, Potomac Falls came back with a 25-23 win in game two and Stone Bridge took game three 25-23. Raider Coach Hanna, watching the first three matches from the stands, commented on how glad she was not to be down there coaching as this was truly a dogfight.
In game four, one set away from elimination, PFalls did what they have done all post-season, rising up and pulling away from the Bulldogs for the first time all match, winning 25-19 and setting the stage for a fifth set.
In set five, the state title on the line, senior Dejia Danhi rose up and earned her spot in Bulldog volleyball history. The senior middle blocker dominated the fifth set with five blocks and two kills, putting the set our of reach before PFalls had time to react. Quickly it was 4-2, then 8-2, then 13-3 and suddenly with a hit out of bounds the bulldogs won 15-3 and captured their first state championship. For the Bulldog seniors this was their fourth trip to the state tournament, now finally culminating with a win. For Coach Jill Raschiatore the third time was a charm as she brings home the school’s only state volleyball title.
For the Potomac Falls Panthers it was the end of an amazing season and a near perfect way for Coach Lachey-Helms to end her coaching career.