By Jerry Holsworth - email@example.com
STRASBURG -- Despite an obvious lapse in the second set, Strasburg was able to defeat Stonewall Jackson 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 25-15, 25-18) in girls volleyball Tuesday night.
"We just lost our focus in the second set," Rams coach Suzanne Mathias said. "We made every kind of mistake that you could make in a set. I talked to them after that and we got our focus back."
The Generals (0-2) suffered because the match was both on the road and only their second contest of the season. For Strasburg (4-1), it was the Rams' fifth match and their experience showed.
The Rams slowly but steadily built their lead on Stonewall, leading 21-10 after 31 exchanges. Lauran Agnew was Strasburg's main weapon, scoring on four kills and an ace during the first set. The Rams senior finished the night with a game-high 15 kills and also contributed two aces. Casey Spiker got the set-winning kill for Strasburg.
"I thought we played well overall," Agnew said. "We still have work to do, but I thought we were on most of the night. Well, except for the second set."
Two misplays by the Rams and an ace by Whitney Wilkins gave the Generals a 3-0 lead to begin the second set. Although kills by Taylor Hill and Corissa Alsberry allowed Strasburg to tie the score 3-3, Stonewall's fast start was an omen for the Rams.
"We really bounced back well in the second set," Generals coach Jamie Armentrout said. "The key was a great defensive effort by our back line, and our front line starting getting some good kill opportunities."
Stonewall's better execution gave it a stunning 20-13 lead. The Generals passed the offensive opportunities around during their run, with kills coming from six different players.
With the Generals leading 24-19, Strasburg finally woke up and narrowed the lead to 24-23 before a kill by Wilkins gave Stonewall the victory.
"I just don't think that we were concentrating during the second set," Spiker said. "We got things back in focus in the third set and kept it there."
The Rams used their new focus to begin the third set with a dramatic 8-0 run, and eventually led 12-1 before a pair of aces by Keyana Phelps brought some life into Stonewall's game. The Generals did rally to narrow Strasburg's lead to 20-15, but five straight points by the Rams left Stonewall down two sets to one. Alsberry got the set-winner with a hard kill.
The fourth set was close until the final few exchanges, but with the Rams ahead 22-17, kills by Spiker and Alsberry put the set and the match out of reach.
Spiker finished the night with 11 kills and three aces. Alsberry scored three of her four kills in the final set. Julia Morikawa had a good night at the service line for the Rams with six kills.
Phelps led the Generals with six kills, a block and two aces. Ashlie Clar had four kills and an ace for Stonewall. Wilkins added 17 service points and five assists, Marisa Moomaw had 25 digs and Taylor Koontz added 19 digs for Stonewall.