Ashburn, Va (October 22, 2014) -Everyone who witnessed Tuesday’s match between home team Briar Woods and visitors Stone Bridge surely got their $6 worth of volleyball. The 5-set match went down to the wire with a dramatic come-from-behind-finish in the deciding set.
The first four sets were split evenly with the first set showcasing the evenly matched teams in a 25-23 Bulldogs’ win. The Falcons then came out strong with two consecutive wins 25-16 and 25-20. Junior outside attacker Jasmine Ellison showed her metal in these matches with numerous booming attacks alongside her junior stand out teammate Lauren Twitty. Briar Woods libero, Jose Lucernoni, a Christopher Newport commit, was relentless in keeping the Bulldogs spike from touching the Falcon side of the court. Set four was a battle for the match win by the Falcons, but Stone Bridge foiled their attempts and managed a 25-18 win to force the 5th set
The 5th set was truly a nail-biter. The two teams traded points up to 8-8, with Stone Bridge calling a time out at 8-9. Briar Woods got two quick points to take the score to 11-9 in the Falcons favor. But with Stone Bridge senior outside hitter Heidi Engebreth steadily serving, the Bulldogs’ lefty sophomore attacker Gabbie Scudder rattled off a quick middle kill and Engebreth followed that with an ace serve. After a bad set call for Briar Woods, the score was tied up at 11-11. Senior Falcon setter Taylor van der Biezen tipped a ball wide to force the Falcons to take a time out at 12-11. A bad serve receive play by Briar Woods followed by a huge kill by junior outside hitter Ashlyn Dunlop saw Stone Bridge sitting at match point, 14-11. Undaunted, Briar Woods junior hitter Riley Garrison pounded a big quick middle attack that ricocheted off the arms of Stone Bridge’s Williams playing defense, sailing towards the back wall of the gym. With the Bulldogs still in position to take the match, senior setter Amy Gottschling fired off a set to her hot outside hitter Dunlop. But Briar Woods’ Garrison and senior middle blocker Lauren Mooney were there with big hands for the block to bring the score up to 14-13. The next play was a basically a replay of the previous: a big Briar Woods block on Dunlop to tie the match at 14-14. The two teams continued trading points back and forth, with Stone Bridge keeping the lead with a kill to make it 15-14. The Falcons’ Twitty fired off a giant kill to tie it up again at 15s. A hitting error by Bulldogs finally gave Briar Woods the advantage at 16-15. When an attack by Briar Woods hit the court on Stone Bridge’s side, the fans and bench started rejoicing over their presumed win; however, Stone Bridge’s coach Jill Raschiatore knew the rule prohibiting the back row libero from setting to a hitter while standing in the front court, which is exactly what happened. Raschiatore got on the court herself to protest the end-of-match call, and to demonstrate the location of the setting libero to drive her point home to the ref on the stand. In keeping with the drama of the match, the Falcons’ win was called back and play continued with the score tied at 16-16. Nerve-racking back-and-forth play ensued with Briar Woods taking the lead twice and Stone Bridge tying things up. Finally the Falcons took the match with two unforced hitting errors by the Bulldogs. The match ended at 20-18 with fans on both sides of the gym applauding the end of the drama and the great night of volleyball.
The top three volleyball teams in Loudoun, Briar Woods, Loudoun County and Stone Bridge, now all have 2 losses on their plates, one of which is at the hands of one of these top teams (Loudoun County lost to Stone Bridge, Briar Woods lost to Loudoun County, and now Stone Bridge to Briar Woods). Things are really heating up as each team moves towards their post-season play. Briar Woods and Stone Bridge will no doubt meet each other again in November in the 5A region playoffs ?