By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL -- Everything kept coming up aces for Warren County on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats pounded out 24 service aces en route to a 3-0 (25-9, 25-23, 25-18) Bull Run District volleyball win over Clarke County on Dig Pink Night.
Warren County sophomore Kylee Eyler had 15 service aces, including seven in a row in the first set.
"I think this is the best I've served all season," Eyler said. "Normally I try really hard to get all my serves in, but it is stressful. I try not to think about all the different things that could go wrong. Today I think I did pretty good. I took my time and I focused and I said a prayer before [every game] and I think that actually helped."
Eyler showed off her serving prowess right from the start. With her hard serves, and ability to find the open spots, Eyler served Warren County out to a 10-0 lead in the first set, including a run of seven straight aces.
The Eagles couldn't recover from the slow start, and the Wildcats cruised to the opening set.
Eyler started the second set off in the same fashion, using three aces to help give the Wildcats an early 6-2 lead.
Eyler said she loves the feeling of getting an ace.
"It really is a an adrenaline rush," Eyler said. "You get so excited that you just scored this for your team. And it makes your team happy that your making everybody win. It's just a great feeling to know that you helped make your team be successful."
Two more aces from Eyler later in the set helped the Wildcats to a 16-9 advantage, but the Eagles rallied.
Two kills by Clarke County's Kaitlyn Turner and one each by Javonna Lansdown and Stephanie Nelson helped cut the lead to 20-17. Warren County's Autumn Troxell followed with a kill and a block to extend the lead to five points.
The Eagles (3-13, 2-10 Bull Run) won five consecutive points to take a 23-22 lead, led by two kills from Lansdown and two aces by Turner.
Troxell tied the set with a kill, and Brooke Post followed with a service ace for a 24-23 edge. Troxell then finished off the set with another kill.
The Wildcats had 18 service aces in the first two sets.
"Serving is always key," Warren County coach Sarah Putnam said. "I was very proud of my girls with their serving this evening. They were able to get it in, and be consistent, and that helped us tremendously."
Clarke County seemed to be in control of the third set, as the Eagles built a 12-4 lead. The Wildcats (8-7, 7-5) chipped away at the lead. Two aces by Post and a kill from Troxell and Alyssa Pauley helped cut the lead to 13-9.
Trailing 16-12, Troxell had back-to-back blocks to help trim the lead even further. The two went back and forth until Eyler came back up to serve -- that would be all the Wildcats would need.
The Wildcats ran off the last nine points on Eyler's serve, including three more aces.
"It was stressful, but I'm glad that we pulled it together," Eyler said. "And that we worked as a team and we brought our points back up and we won."
Lansdown led the Eagles with five kills and a block, and Turner had three kills.
Troxell had 11 kills and four blocks for the Wildcats. Post finished with four kills and four aces, and Arie Roth had three kills, one block and three aces for Warren County.
Eyler said the team continues to improve with each match.
"I feel like in the beginning of the season we didn't work as well as a team -- working together, calling for the ball and talking," Eyler said. "I feel like as the season goes on we've gotten really good at that, and we just keep talking to each other and that helps us get points."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd