By Stephen Boyle - email@example.com
STRASBURG -- Strasburg volleyball has numbers. Coach Suzanne Mathias has 14 girls on her varsity squad, not to mention the 18 girls that play JV. Thursday every player who wasn't on the court became a cheerleader for the Rams.
"It's about to get really loud," the JV girls warned the fans before standing up and cheering throughout the match. Eventually they were chanting, "We are proud of you, yeah, we are proud of you."
It took all five sets, but Strasburg picked up its first win of the season on Thursday. After winning the first set 25-14, the Rams dropped two straight sets to Stonewall Jackson before taking the match, 3-2 (25-14, 17-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-7).
Mathias was frustrated and nervous with her team's play from the service line. The Rams missed 18 serves, which she described as "18 free points" for Stonewall Jackson, but were able to overcome their service woes to improve their season record to 1-2.
The Rams came out strong at home and were able to win the first set easily. Strasburg never trailed in the first set. After two powerful kills from 6-foot-1 sophomore Lindsey Painter made the score 16-12, the Generals never recovered. Stonewall Jackson fell in the first set, 25-14. The Generals are 1-1 on the season, but have yet to win a first set this year.
"Sometimes I think we get a slow start, but travel doesn't help that," said Stonewall Jackson coach Jamie Armentrout.
Armentrout added that the Generals are looking forward to their home opener next Tuesday against Central.
In the second set, Stonewall Jackson rebounded quickly. Four straight service points by senior Michaela Koontz, who led all Generals with 13 points served, helped the Generals take the second set, 25-17.
The momentum carried into a closely contested third set. junior Allison Singleton and senior Erin Goodier helped the Generals to a 25-22 victory in the third set, which they trailed 19-18 before a kill and two service aces by Singleton. The outside hitter led all Generals with 13 kills and also served 10 points. Goodier added 10 kills of her own, but it wasn't enough for Stonewall Jackson to win the match.
"To be honest, I don't think anyone shined like they should have," Armentrout said. "We just didn't have it all together."
In the fourth set, McKenna Orndorff helped the Rams turn things around.
"I told them I needed a block and she came in and gave me a block," Mathias said.
Orndorff didn't just deliver one block. She had six and two big kills to tie the game at 12-12 and 17-17, respectively. Strasburg would go on to win the set, 25-22, and carry the momentum into the fifth and final stanza.
In the fifth set, Allison Bromley served four straight points -- three of which were aces -- to give Strasburg a 12-5 lead. The Rams never looked back in taking the set, 15-7. Mathias hopes the momentum carries past the fifth set of Thursday's match.
"I hope to carry it into next week and keep improving day by day," she said.
Strasburg's next match is against Page County at home on Tuesday.