By Robert Edmonds - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Skyline and Fauquier entered Tuesday night's nondistrict match with emotions running high, and battled evenly through two sets before the Falcons were able to take control and claim a 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 25-16, 25-21) victory.
"We came out slow tonight," Falcons coach Diane Story said. "We took a while to get things going. Once we got our focus where we needed it, our confidence stepped in and our game started to flow much better."
When the first set began, each team displayed terrific defense as they hustled for digs and continuously found themselves flying to the floor. The Falcons took control early by running out to a 5-0 lead, but it didn't take the Hawks long to reel them in.
"We came out with a lot of energy and excitement," Hawks coach Lesley Detweiler said. "We are young team and they are used to playing like that. Our defense played pretty well, but there were times we struggled with our consistency and that was the difference in the game."
Led by Lindsay Lehew, Skyline quickly knotted the score at six before taking the lead. Lehew racked up three kills in a span of six points as Skyline built a four-point lead. Fauquier didn't stay behind for long, as the Falcons battled back to tie the game and score the last four points of the set to claim victory in the first.
In the second set, Lehew found support from Kristina Salazar and Oshene Kelly as the trio combined for more than half of the team's points in the 25-19 victory to knot the match at one win apiece.
"Skyline is a good defensive team," Story said. "Kudos to them for playing so well against our offensive attack. There were times where we just could not manage to get anything down."
Skyline struggled as it trailed the entire third game. The Falcons began to find their footing behind setter Haylee Murray.
Murray consistently began to find her hitters, who blasted the ball at the Hawks defense. Unable to continue the impressive serve-receive performance it had shown earlier in the evening, Skyline lost momentum.
"We realized that we made a lot of errors and that were costly to us," Detweiler said. "We have to learn to play with that consistency, digging up balls and being able to put it over the net. Those are the things we have to work on and that will make a difference as the season progresses."
The Hawks lost the final two sets despite a pair of scoring streaks in the final set that simply wasn't enough, in most part due to the dominance of Falcons senior Brittany Edwards in the final set. Edwards racked up seven kills, an ace and a block for a score to finish off the victory.
"Brittany [Edwards] is a force for us," Story said. "She has the ability to hit with such power, as she did tonight. When she is on, she is a force to be reckoned with. And when her game is like that, she helps the tempo and picks up the rest of the team."