Wildcats sweep Skyline

By Brad Fauber

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County’s volleyball team got off to a quick start on the road against cross-town rival Skyline on Tuesday evening.

The Wildcats raced out to a big lead in the opening set of the match, maintained that momentum through the second game and avoided a letdown in the third to complete the 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-22) sweep.

“The girls came ready to play tonight. Of course it’s always intense when we play Skyline,” Wildcats head coach Sarah Putnam said. “We were more consistent with our serving and our overall play in the first two games and then we got a little too comfortable that third game and started making some errors. Skyline capitalized on that.”

Warren County (6-3) was able to overcome a series of miscues in the final set of the match to seal the win, but it was Skyline that battled errors all match long.

The Hawks, now winless in 10 matches this season, continually hurt themselves with misfires that led directly to points for Warren County. Skyline committed 18 service errors in the loss.

“That’s what we just talked about is that we’re not defeating another team, we’re defeating ourselves,” Hawks coach Erika Berry said after meeting with her team following the match. “The other team is coming out there playing and we’re just making error after error with serves, hitter errors. Until we can clean our game up, we’re going to be in the same boat.”

Those errors stung Skyline from the start, as the Hawks committed four errors in a five-point span to help the Wildcats to an 8-0 lead in the first set. Skyline cut that deficit to five points after two Warren County errors and a kill by Carrie Robinson, but the Wildcats extended that lead to 13-3 following a kill by senior Autumn Troxell and two straight aces by senior Arie Roth.

Warren County led by as much as 13 points before winning the first game 25-16.

Skyline managed to keep the game tight early in the second set, but a Hawks service error started a 7-0 run for Warren County that allowed the Wildcats to take a 13-6 lead. Warren County’s lead never dipped below six points for the remainder of the set as the Wildcats took a 2-0 lead.

Both teams struggled in the third game, as errors accounted for 11 of the set’s first 13 points. Skyline held a 10-4 lead after a kill by junior Taylor Ziemer, but the Wildcats rallied to tie it up at 11-all following an ace from Troxell, a Roth kill and a handful of Hawks errors.

“Our coach just told us to calm down and play our game. We let ourselves get a little comfortable but I think after we realized we needed to step it into gear we started getting our game together,” said Troxell, who finished with a match-high 12 kills, two aces and two blocks.

“We definitely let our guard down and we shouldn’t do that when we play. It’s not how we play.”

Warren County rallied from a three-point deficit to tie the score at 16-all after a kill by Roth and a block by Troxell, and then built up a three-point lead at 20-17 before Skyline knotted the set up at 20 on a Jessica Sims ace and a kill by Tori Jo Brown.

But the Hawks committed a service error to give the lead back to Warren County, who gained a 23-21 edge on back-to-back kills by Troxell and Roth.

Brown notched another kill to bring the Hawks within a point, but Skyline misfired on its following serve and committed an attack error to give the Wildcats the 25-22 win and the sweep.

Skyline, which Berry admitted may have been a little overwhelmed by the energetic student sections for both schools on Tuesday, committed nine service errors in the final set.

“It’s one of those things that you do every day in practice, but we have been working on serving aggressive. When you work on serving aggressive that’s going to happen,” Berry said of the missed serves. “But at this point of the season we have to start putting them in, especially at those crucial times in the game.”

Roth finished with four aces and three kills for Warren County, while Chelsey Butler and Alyssa Pauley had two aces each for the Wildcats.

Ziemer led Skyline with four kills, Robinson had three kills and Brown had two kills and two blocks. Allison Crescienzi had three aces for the Hawks.

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