By Brad Fauber
WOODSTOCK -- The cheers coming from Central's locker room could be heard echoing throughout the halls surrounding the high school's gymnasium, making it loud and clear that Thursday's victory was a big one for the Falcons.
Central, fueled by an outstanding night at the service line, knocked off rival Strasburg 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21), completing the first season sweep over the Rams in recent memory.
"We're pretty excited. We were definitely excited to get them once, but to get them twice, we are really pumped," said Falcons junior Katelyn Foltz. "This helps make [our season] a little bit better."
The Falcons (5-13, 5-7 Bull Run) served up 18 aces during the four-set match, all while missing just eight serves. Strasburg, on the other hand, continued suffering through the inconsistent play that has plagued the Rams' season.
Strasburg (4-13, 3-9) committed 53 errors through the four sets, virtually handing the Falcons over half of their total points scored.
"They've got to decide that they're going to play and do the little things, and talk to each other," said Rams coach Suzanne Mathias. "They're just not talking to each other, that's what's frustrating."
Central needed just three kills as a team on its way to a win in the first set, as Strasburg committed 17 errors in the frame, including 11 attack miscues. Strasburg sophomore Lindsey Painter (match-high 15 kills) and junior Allison Bromley each scored three kills in the set, but it wasn't enough to help the Rams overcome the errors.
Strasburg's attack settled down in the second set as the Rams scored a total of 11 kills compared to five attack errors. The Falcons managed a lone kill in the set by junior Tiffany Riggs.
Strasburg appeared to have momentum in the third set as the Rams took a 12-10 lead, backed by three kills apiece from Painter and Bromley and a pair of aces by Nicole Killen. Central fought back to reclaim the lead, getting back-to-back aces by Riggs and a kill by Rebecca Truban.
The Falcons' serving game then took over, as Foltz served four aces, including three in a row, during a seven-point run that allowed Central blow the set open. The Falcons ended the set with a 15-4 run in the 25-16 win.
Foltz led all players with seven aces, and Mary Wakeman added six kills for Central. Riggs led the match with four blocks.
"Every single ace we got was just more and more momentum, and we just didn't want to let it go," Foltz said. "We fought every single time the ball went over the net to keep the momentum and make sure they didn't get it back."
Strasburg again held a lead late in the fourth set when the Rams erased an 18-14 deficit to take a 20-18 lead on a kill by Painter, her fifth of the set. But a Rams pass error shifted momentum back to Central, and a block by Riggs and a kill by Morgan Davis gave the Falcons a 22-20 lead.
An ace by Davis set up match point for Central, and Wakeman smashed a kill to seal the season sweep for the Falcons.
"Both teams really played well and its always an intense game," said Falcons coach Allison Hoover. "Momentum is the name of the game in volleyball, and luckily it swung our way a lot tonight."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org