By Brad Fauber
FRONT ROYAL -- Warren County found itself one point away from falling into a two-set hole against visiting Central during Tuesday's Bull Run District volleyball contest, but then something suddenly clicked for the Wildcats.
Shortly after Wildcats head coach Sarah Putnam called a timeout with her team trailing by four, Warren County rallied for six straight points to steal a victory in the second set and tie the match at 1-all. The Wildcats then held off the Falcons over the final two games to claim their first victory of the young season with a 3-1 (20-25, 26-24, 25-15, 26-24) win.
"I think that after we huddled we got our heads together," said junior Autumn Troxell, who led the Wildcats with 10 kills and nine blocks. "We started talking, we told each other that it's one point, let's just get it up and then the momentum will come."
After rolling to a win in the first set, Central (0-2) held a 24-20 lead in the second after a kill by senior Rebecca Truban, but then things began to unravel for the Falcons. Truban's ensuing serve sailed into the net, and Warren County tied the score at 24-all on an ace by sophomore Kylee Eyer and two kills by junior Arie Roth.
Following a timeout by Falcons coach Christy Barb, Central gave up another point when some miscommunication allowed the ball to hit the floor, and Eyer's following serve was returned into the net by the Falcons to tie the match at 1-1.
"We got down on ourselves, but for the most part [Warren County] just came out and got the momentum," Barb said. "Once they got the momentum it was kind of hard for us to get that back."
After finding new life, Warren County quickly raced out to a 15-8 lead in the third game, which forced Barb to use a timeout. The Falcons managed to cut the lead to four later in the set on a kill by Truban (team-high 10 kills), but the Wildcats closed out the set on an 8-2 run and gained a 2-1 set lead on a block by Troxell.
Central refused to go quietly as the Falcons gained an 11-7 lead to open the fourth set. However, Warren County slowly chipped away at the deficit and took its first lead of the set when two kills by Troxell, a pair of aces by Eyler (seven total aces) and a kill by Brooke Post gave the Wildcats a 19-17 lead.
"We get a good pass from the back row, we get a good set and our front row is able to do something with it," Putnam said of a Wildcats offense that generated 28 kills in the match. "It picks up our momentum and gives us that confidence that we can do this and that we do know what we're doing."
Warren County appeared in good position to put the match away while holding a 24-21 lead, but two Wildcats errors and a block by Falcons senior Tiffany Riggs tied the set at 24-all.
Following a timeout, Warren County tallied a point on a Central misfire and Wildcats junior Alyssa Pauley ended the match with her third kill of the set.
"They are fighters, I will give them that," Barb said of her team. "They work hard for every point and they never give up. They work as a team and they pick each other up."
Senior Kyla Strother and junior Morgan Davis each added six kills apiece for the Falcons, while senior Mary Wakeman added four aces. Roth added seven kills for Warren County.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or email@example.com