By Dennis Atwood -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Warren County started off well against Luray on Tuesday night, but the Bulldogs rallied for a 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-13) win.
Warren County's first win continues to be elusive, as they took their fifth loss of the young season.
The Bulldogs (3-1) win came after a grueling five-game win over Madison County on Monday night, in which they also dropped the first game, but won three of the next four.
The match against the Wildcats featured several long rallies of six or more exchanges with good digging, pursuit and setting skills from both squads. Both teams committed only four service errors.
Luray's offense was led by senior outside hitter Megan Hilliard with nine kills, including the game-winner in the second game, and 39 digs.
"I like to switch it up and keep them off-balance," Hilliard said of her kills.
Luray sophomore middle hitter Jennifer Kelly had 10 kills, including the game-winner in the third game.
"I had fun and we all worked together at the end," Kelly said.
Luray senior libero Amelia Green had 20 service points, including six aces.
"We've been working on spot serving a lot and some of our players definitely did that, and I was proud of that," Luray coach Julie Rothgeb said. "Hitting-wise, we're still working on it. We have some strong hitters. We just want to spread it out a bit more. It's better if you have more than one, two good hitters. We're definitely improving, and that's what we want to do."
The first game was evenly fought until Warren County mounted a 7-2 run to build a 17-11 lead. A Brooke Rutherford kill gave the Wildcats a 23-19 cushion, before they committed three consecutive attack errors to let Luray close to within one, 23-22.
Freshman middle hitter Alyson Fox slammed a kill for the Wildcats' 24th point. They then committed an attack error before Luray was called for a net touch, giving the Wildcats the game.
The second game had eight ties before Luray mounted a 6-0 run, with two kills by senior middle hitter Alison Ross and one by Hilliard.
Two kills by senior Danielle Montgomery, another by Ross, and an ace by Caitlyn Kemp built an 18-12 Luray lead. The Bulldogs committed two attack errors to give the Wildcats points 17 and 18, before Hilliard notched the game-winning kill with an assist from Kemp.
Luray got stronger in the third and fourth games, with longer scoring streaks, including a 9-2 run in third game.
The Wildcats were led by freshman setter Rachel Cerretani with six kills, senior setter Katie Robinson with nine assists and freshman libero Jasmain Ford with 29 digs.
"I was very pleased after the first game," Warren County coach Cathy Brill said. "I thought the girls played well together and they were talking and attacking the ball. We served well all night long. I was pleased with our digs. We just need to keep working on our attack, and end those volleys earlier."