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By Jerry Holsworth - email@example.com
STEPHENS CITY -- Despite a determined effort by Skyline, Sherando's volleyball team rolled to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-20) victory Monday in Northwestern District play.
The Warriors were led by their hitters Brooke Schneider and Morgan Sirbaugh, who dominated play at the net in all three sets.
"Skyline always brings a team that's going to be ready for the challenge," Warriors coach Chuck Ashby said. "They're not going to lay down and say they're done after they lose two sets. They're still going to come out there and push us, and that's exactly what happened tonight. I've told our kids that it's going to be that way from now on. Teams are going to be coming in here and looking to take us down a notch."
The Hawks put up a tough fight from start to finish, and were actually leading 4-3 early in the opening set, and stayed within one of Sherando until a push by the Warriors midway through the set.
After an ace by the Hawks' Jessica Saddler tied the score 10-10, Sherando went on a 7-1 run that left Skyline trailing 17-11. Schneider scored on an ace and a kill during the run, and finished the first set with four kills. Sirbaugh was a strong scoring presence, too, nailing six kills and an ace during the set.
The Hawks were never able to recover from the run, and scored just four more points in the set. Sherando got the set win when Skyline hitter Courtney Massey's serve sailed long.
Despite an early 1-0 lead by the Hawks, the Warriors were even more dominating in the second set. Schneider scored on six kills during the set, and Sirbaugh had another two kills and two aces. But it was the play of Whitney Dellinger that really spelled doom for the Hawks. With Sherando leading 6-3, Dellinger nailed an amazing four straight aces to propel the Warriors to a commanding 10-3 lead.
From that point forward, the Hawks were never able to get closer than eight points of the surging Warriors. Sherando got the win with another Skyline service error, this time by Lauren Moore.
With Sherando seemingly in total control, the Hawks shocked the Warriors by opening the third set by on a 6-0 run. Skyline setter Sarah Beamer led the Hawks' charge, hammering home three aces during the run.
The Skyline junior, however, wasn't the only Hawk to get into the act. Lindsey Lehew, Tara Robinson and Jenny Norman also scored on kills to give Skyline its biggest lead of the match.
With the Hawks ahead 10-3, Sherando began a slow but persistent recovery from the Skyline resurgence. A block by the Warriors' Cassie Slater, one of four she had for the match, seemed to turn momentum in Sherando's favor. Three kills by Sirbaugh, an ace by Schneider and a kill by Slater cut the Warriors' deficit to one, 12-11.
"Playing a team like Skyline really makes me nervous," Ashby said. "[Skyline coach Lindsey Detweiler's] team really picked up their intensity, and we had to pick up ours. I really liked what our senior leadership did in that final set. The seniors really pushed the team to get better and meet the challenge they were faced with. That's exactly what I want to see from this team."
Having taken Skyline's best shot, Sherando took over the set and romped to victory.
Sirbaugh led the Warriors with 13 kills and three aces, but Schneider wasn't far behind with 12 kills and an ace. Slater, who made her presence felt late in the match, scored on three kills, two blocks and two aces in final set.
Skyline's most consistent player was Massey, who had six kills for the Hawks. But the Hawks got points from eight different players, including kills by six different players in the final set.
"Despite the final score, this was a much better showing than we've had in the last few matches," Detweiler said. "I was very pleased with our effort. We haven't seen too many teams that have the hitters that Sherando has."