Ashburn, Va (September 17, 2016) – Yesterday the Stone Bridge Bulldogs traveled to Madison high school in Fairfax to face the Warhawks. The Warhawks, who are coming off a 33-1 season last year and the 6A runner-ups, were one of only two teams to beat Stone Bridge during the regular season in 2014 and handed the Bulldogs their only home loss last season. Stone Bridge has been plagued with injuries this season and has only had their starting lineup healthy for the first two games of the season. The Bulldog fans definitely were holding their breaths when last night’s match began.
The girls responded with an 8-1 run to start the game. Ashlyn Dunlop, back in the lineup after a short absence, showed what senior leadership is by taking command early and carrying the offensive load for the bulldogs. The Warhawks were thrown off by the Bulldog opening but soon regrouped with a team as strong as last year’s, outscoring the Bulldogs 16-8 and tying the game at 17. Madison’s run took them to 24-22 and one point away from taking game one. A sideout made it 24-23 Madison when junior Alex Fuerst stepped up to serve. With set one on the line, Fuerst made three great serves that culminated with a Caitlin Zura middle kill and a 26-24 win for the Bulldogs.
Set two opened with both teams trading points to 4-4. Then Madison began showing why they were second in the state last year with a balanced hitting attack and an 11-6 lead. Senior Dejia Danhi continued her season of spectacular middle blocks and kills, getting two to halt the Warhawk charge. Junior Gabbie Scudder’s two serving aces put the Bulldogs back in the lead at 18-17 and forced a Warhawk timeout. After a sideout, senior Abby DeVido served a string of bullets to clinch game two 25-18.
Set three again had the teams trading points to 9-9. The Warhawks jumped ahead 14-10 and never gave it up. Another serving run by Scudder made it 18-16 Madison but the Warhawks held on to take game three 25-22.
Set four started with a string of Bulldog errors and a 10-6 Warhawk lead. Another Scudder ace and skyhigh Danhi block kill tied the game at 10-10. Two more Dejia block kills made it 15-11 and a serving run by junior Ryley Gill, including an ace, made it 18-13 and the game and match was looking good for Stone Bridge. But Madison refused to bow out and a late surge made it 23-21 Stone Bridge. Caitlin Zura ended the night serving an ace to win the set 25-22 and the match 3-1.
Dunlop ended the night with 19 kills, 3 blocks, and one ace to account for 1/3 of the teams points. Setter Feurst had 41 assists and libero Gill had 21 digs for the night.
Afterwords coach Jill Raschiatore said “I knew that we had fight in us and if we played clean ball and played together good things were going to happen”. Coach said she was proud of the girls because they have been working and working but it had not clicked until tonight.
The Bulldogs are now 5-1 and travel to Woodgrove Monday for a 7:15 match.
Stats from the game are below: