By Tommy Keeler Jr.
WINCHESTER -- James Wood has run roughshod over the Northwestern District competition all season. On Tuesday night, not even a move to a much smaller gym could slow down James Wood's powerful attack.
The Colonels controlled the match from start to finish in a 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-15) win over Skyline. A roof leak in James Wood's main gym forced the match to be played in the auxiliary gym on James Wood's Senior Night.
"I thought we played extremely well," James Wood coach Jill Couturiaux said. "With it being Senior Night, we made it an emphasis to play for Molly [Tierney] and Brandi [Griffith] and kind of give everything we had for those two girls."
The Colonels dominated the first set behind a blanced attack. Six different players had at least one kill in the set. Six of the first seven points James Wood came on kills.
A kill by Skyline's Jenny Norman and a block by Celina Pearman helped cut the lead to 9-5.
James Wood (19-3, 7-0 Northwestern) then went on a 16-5 run to finish off the set.
The second set was much of the same as the Hawks trailed 9-5, before the Colonels went on a big run to put the set away. Ashley Hillyard had six kills in the set to lead the Colonels.
The Hawks (7-10, 0-7 Northwestern) were able to keep things a little closer in the third set. Two kills and a block by Tierney helped give James Wood a quick 7-2 lead, and the Colonels would stretch the lead to 11-4. Skyline battled back led by a kill each from Norman and Lauren Moore to cut the lead to 11-8.
The Colonels slowly began to pull away again. They won six of the last seven points to put the match away.
"We kind of hung in there all night, I know the scores didn't really reflect it," Skyline coach Lesley Detweiler said. "Our goal was don't let anything hit the floor tonight. We touched a lot of balls at the net blocking, and in the back row playing defense. And we thought we could play well if we could do that tonight."
Hillyard had eight kills, and Tierney had six kills and two blocks to lead the Colonels. Leilani Burch had six kills, and Taylor Heishman had four kills and two blocks for James Wood. Griffith added four kills and a block.
Couturiaux said Tierney and Griffith have meant a lot to the Colonels.
"I think Brandi [Griffith] has done a tremendous job for us defensively," Couturiaux said. "She's come such a long way to improve her game. She works so hard on defense and she's one of our best passers. She really reads the attack well. Molly offers our team leadership. She puts up a big block for us at the net. She's very consistent offensively. There's nothing that she's doing flashy at the net, but she's consistent. I would rather have consistency over flashiness any day."
The Colonels finish their regular season Thursday at Handley, and will host a Conference 21 tournament quarterfinal match on Monday.
The Hawks were led by Norman and Taylor Ziemer with three kills each. Skyline hosts Millbrook tonight, and will play John Champe in the Conference 28 tournament next Monday. If the Hawks beat Millbrook they could host John Champe next week.
"We saw them early in the season. We didn't have two of our main players when we played them," Detweiler said. "It will be nice to see the match-up again."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd