Falcons fall short against Eagles

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

BERRYVILLE — Central played some of its best volleyball of the season in the first set Tuesday night.

However, the Falcons couldn’t keep the momentum going in a 3-1 (21-25, 25-14, 25-10, 25-15) loss to Clarke County in Bull Run District action.

“The first set I was very proud of them,” Central coach Christy Barb said. “We hustled, we talked and everything clicked. I’ve been telling them all season that passing has to come first, and that’s what helped us in that first set.”

The Falcons entered the match having won only four sets in 12 district matches this season, but came out strong against a solid Clarke County squad.

The first set went back and forth until Central’s Savannah Gochenour tied it at 14-14. An ace by Caroline Truban gave the Falcons a 15-14 lead and they never trailed in the remainder of the set.

The Eagles (10-7, 8-5 Bull Run) were able to tie the set at 17-17 on back-to-back aces by Javonna Lansdown, but the Falcons finished the set on an 8-4 run. Central’s Cianne Fields and Caelyn Moylan each had a kill during the run.

“We just came out a little flat,” Clarke County coach Seneca Sowers said. “The first set we were sending over a lot of sloppy stuff. We weren’t getting a lot of attacks, it was just kind of getting the ball over the net. We were really allowing Central to set it up.”

The Eagles regrouped in the second set. They raced out to an 11-4 lead, led by two kills from Lansdown. Central eventually cut the lead to 14-9, but that was as close as the Falcons would get.

The third set was more of the same as the Eagles built a big lead and cruised to take a two-sets-to-one lead.

“We need to figure out a way to keep that intensity and momentum from one side of the court to the other. To keep it when we switch sides,” Barb said. “We win and then we get lax. Then when we fall behind that’s when we can’t always pick it up when we need to.”

The Falcons (1-16, 1-12) put up a fight in the fourth set. Clarke County started off strong again and took a quick 9-4 edge, including two kills by Lansdown. The two teams went back and forth, and a kill by Moylan and an ace by Truban cut the Clarke County lead to 14-11.

“They could have given up. They could have said it’s the fourth set, they’re up 2-1 on us. We can just wash our hands and be done, but that’s one thing that this team has done all year is we’ve never given up,” Barb said. “We’ve battled back. And we’ve come up short, but we are still learning the winning part of it.”

The Eagles closed the match with an 11-4 run. Lansdown led the Eagles with 11 kills, while Kaitlyn Turner had eight kills.

“It’s been a mental battle all season,” Sowers said. “So to see that we had one bad set, move on, and get right back in the game and play our offense, it was great to see that out of the girls today.”

Moylan had six kills and one block, and Gochenour had three kills and two blocks for the Falcons.

Even though the Falcons lost, taking a strong team like Clarke County to four sets could give them some momentum heading into the last part of the regular season.

“Our goal right now is to continue to play as a team and not get flustered with each other or ourselves,” Barb said. “We have to work on our hitting, because that’s what hurt us tonight. I think once we get that clicking and keep it consistent with the passing, then I think everything else will fall into place.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com