By Dennis Atwood - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Early on Tuesday night in what eventually became a 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-10) win for Skyline, it was anybody's volleyball match, as the Hawks and their cross-county rival, the Warren County Wildcats, split the first two sets of their non-district volleyball match.
Skyline junior hitter Lindsay LeHew didn't score her first kill until early in the second set, but she kicked up her game several notches in the third set, slamming four consecutive kills during a 9-0 run as the Hawks overcame a 19-16 Wildcats lead. Courtney Massey then held serve for eight points and capped the set for the Hawks, 25-19.
"That was key in the third [set], for [Massey] to come in a get that rally back, and get that momentum in the fourth [set]," Hawks coach Lesley Detweiler said. "We had been struggling at the service line all night and that's what kept [Warren County] in the match and it's why we lost the second [set], missing 14 or 15 serves."
The Hawks revved their engines even higher by opening the fourth set with leads of 12-1 and 16-3, as LeHew picked up four more kills, finishing with 15 for the match. Junior middle hitter Osheen Kelly scored Skyline's 24th point with a kill and the Hawks closed out the set 25-10.
"I just think the whole team got pumped, because after the [second-set loss], our team just isn't good at losing, so we just wanted to be ready, and get it back, and get that win," LeHew said.
Skyline (7-7, 0-1 Northwestern) senior setter Natalie Freeman consistently placed the ball in favorable striking positions for the Hawks' hitters to amass 43 assists for the match.
"Usually when we get the passes, we get a lot of sets, and we did good tonight with our passing," Freeman said. "We've been waiting for this [match] for a very long time and we just were nervous. But once we got into it, we played how we should have played in the beginning."
Senior Kristina Salazar anchored Skyline's back line with 17 digs.
Warren County (5-4) appeared to simply run out of steam after the third set. The Wildcats had won a match Monday night against Manassas Park and were without the services of senior hitter Amber Buffa, who missed her second match due to a rolled ankle.
Sophomore hitter Alyson Fox led the Wildcats with eight kills and four blocks (two for points) and senior hitter Paige Partlowe contributed five kills (including the second set winner) and two aces.
The win broke the Hawks' three-game losing streak and ended the Wildcats' four-game winning streak.
"This is always a big game for us," Detweiler said. "It's a big rivalry and we wanted to come out and play hard on every point. We started off slow and we built on during the night and the fourth set is when it really hit home, that 'Hey, we can do this.'"
"We kinda got disorganized a little bit and they took it away from us," Wildcats coach Scott Wilde said.
"We just quit being aggressive. And we missed Amber [Buffa] who is usually our first server. We played last night, so a little fatigue might have bit into it. We had them down, but we just couldn't put it away."