Generals rally past Falcons

By Brad Fauber

WOODSTOCK — Stonewall Jackson volleyball coach Lindsey Dinges was worried all night about the Generals’ lack of communication on the court Monday against Central.

Turns out that perhaps Dinges was fretting just a little too much. The Generals, though burned at times by that miscommunication, downed the Falcons 3-1 (17-25, 25-14, 25-23, 26-24) to complete the season sweep against their county rivals.

“Communication was a big issue,” Dinges said. “I kept telling them all night, ‘please talk to each other. Please talk to each other.’ They pulled it together though, eventually. They had me worried there for a little bit.”

The Falcons (0-7) have struggled so far this season, but they did manage to win the opening game against Stonewall, just the second time that Central has won a set in seven matches this season.

Central opened quickly with a 14-5 lead, as two aces each from Cianne Fields and Casey Rubenstein powered a 9-1 Falcons run and forced Dinges to call an early timeout. That stoppage didn’t slow Central, however, as the Falcons used a balanced scoring effort and plenty of Stonewall errors to run away with the 25-17 win.

The Generals (2-2) quickly put that opening loss out of their minds with a strong start in the second set. Junior Brittany Singleton scored a pair of kills and Elizabeth Moomaw notched an ace to give Stonewall Jackson an early 4-0 lead.

Central rallied to tie the game at 5-all, but Stonewall jumped out ahead again as two Kayla Miller aces sandwiched a kill by Madison Long to give the Generals a 13-7 lead. Stonewall Jackson maintained at least a four-point lead for the remainder of the set to tie the match at 1-1.

“I feel like we were really nervous at the beginning and we were kind of back on our feet, flat and everything,” Long said. “Once we got some momentum going we were able to get on our toes and battle back.”

The Falcons put themselves in great position to regain momentum and a 2-1 lead in the match when five aces by Fields helped give Central a seemingly comfortable 14-6 lead. That cushion held as the Falcons built a 20-12 lead later in the set, but Stonewall Jackson rallied back.

A kill by Generals senior Brooke Simpson sparked a 9-1 Stonewall Jackson run — which was also powered by two aces from Kaylin Miller and two kills by Long — that tied the game at 21-all.

The two teams traded errors before Long’s fifth kill of the set gave Stonewall a 23-22 lead, and Cheyenne Crigger’s block set up Stonewall with game point. The Generals completed the comeback and grabbed a 2-1 lead on a Falcons service error.

Long, who played a pivotal role with her three kills during the rally, finished the match with nine kills and three aces, while Singleton had a match-high 14 kills in the win.

“I’ve been hounding Brittany for a month and a half about killing the ball and she is finally doing it,” Dinges said. “And Maddy — both of my middles are wonderful. They work the net well. I don’t have to worry. They just worked the net well. I’m proud of both of them this evening. Maddy had a slow start but she pulled it together for me.”

Central did some rallying of its own in the fourth game, as the Falcons found themselves trailing 16-11 midway through the set. Stonewall Jackson eventually worked to a 24-19 lead following a Falcons missed serve, but Central scored the next five points to tie the game behind two aces by Nicole Baker and three Generals errors.

Singleton gave Stonewall Jackson a 25-24 lead with her sixth kill of the set, and the match ended as Central’s Morgan Davis sailed a shot just wide of the boundary.

“We didn’t give up,” Falcons coach Christy Barb said. “We fought back in the fourth set. … It just didn’t fall our way, but what I’ve seen from tonight’s games as far as picking each other up, and when we take timeouts I’m asking them to do things, and I’m seeing it on the court. So it doesn’t go down as a win in our win column, but it goes down as a win in our other techniques of volleyball that we’re trying to improve on as well.”

Davis, Caelyn Moylan and Savannah Gochenour each finished with six kills for Central, while Fields had a match-high eight aces and four kills.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com