By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL -- In front of a raucous crowd, playing against a county rival, Skyline's Lauren Moore knew how important it was to get her serve in with her team just a point away from a big win.
The senior calmly and quickly stepped up to the line and delivered the final blow -- her fourth ace of the set -- to give the Hawks a 3-1 (25-21, 25-12, 17-25, 25-20) non-district road victory over Warren County on Tuesday.
"It was very intimidating," Moore said of her final ace. "I knew I had to get my serve in. I was trying not to think about it."
Moore's serving played a key role in the fourth set win for the Hawks. After taking the third set, the Wildcats had seized momentum and used a 5-0 run to take a 12-11 lead on an ace by Brooke Post.
An error tied the score, and Moore then delivered three consecutive aces to give the Hawks a 15-12 advantage.
"Lauren [Moore] can go on a run," Skyline coach Lesley Detweiler said. "She has a very tough hard-serving serve, it's hard to pass. She was on tonight with it in that fourth game."
A kill by Tori Jo Brown, and a block by Sarah Dodge helped the Hawks push the lead to 20-16.
The two teams went back and forth until Moore's ace sealed the victory.
The first set went back and forth until a kill and a block by Warren County's Autumn Troxell gave the Wildcats an 18-15 edge. Another kill by Troxell gave the Wildcats a 19-16 lead, but the Hawks responded.
A kill by Jenny Norman and a block by Dodge helped the Hawks to a 6-0 run and a 22-19 lead.
"I think we wanted it a lot," Norman said of the first set. "It was really important to all of us, and we just kept pushing through it."
A kill by Troxell helped cut the lead to 22-20, but the Hawks were able to finish the set off aided by three Warren County errors.
The Hawks used the momentum of the first set, and built a big lead in the second set.
Warren County (5-6) stormed back in the third set. The Wildcats jumped out to an 8-2 lead, aided three kills from Post.
"I think coming back and winning that third set just shows that we have some perseverance," Warren County coach Sarah Putnam said. "We were able to collect ourselves together and not give up. A lot of teams after losing the first two would just fold. And that is one thing I can say my team does not do."
Detweiler said her team became a little passive in the third set, but she was happy with how they turned it around in the fourth set.
"In the third game we really changed from paying to win, to playing not to lose," Detweiler said. "So, we finally turned that around in the fourth game, and we got back to that playing to win mentality."
Troxell led the Wildcats with nine kills and one block, while Arie Roth and Post each had four kills.
Norman led the Hawks (5-4) with 12 kills and one block. Dodge had two kills and five blocks, and Brown and Taylor Ziemer had three kills each.
The Hawks are above .500 after struggling the last few years, and the win over Warren County should only help to boost their confidence. Detweiler said a few of the players are playing at the club level, which has helped. She said the team chemistry has also been a key factor.
"In general, I have a group of girls that have been playing for a while that are coming together," Detweiler said. "And they're playing well together, and I think that's important."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd