Rams take opener over Generals

Strasburg's Cortney McDonald, left, and Stonewall's Elizabeth Moomaw, right, go up against each other at the net during high school volleyball action Tuesday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

QUICKSBURG — Strasburg overcame an early deficit in the second set and didn’t look back.

The Rams swept past Stonewall Jackson, 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-14), in the volleyball season opener for both teams on Tuesday night.

“It started off slow, and I guess it’s just getting into a rhythm of things,” Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias said. “The third set I thought it kind of came together. We were moving, talking, hitting the ball much better. We cut down on our mistakes. So I was pleased with the third set.”

The Rams fell behind quickly in the second set, as the Generals took a 6-0 lead. Stonewall Jackson senior Elizabeth Moomaw served all six points, including an ace.

Mathias called a timeout and it seemed to work as the Rams reeled off 10 of the next 14 points.

Strasburg's Rachel Funkhouser concentrates on this hit during high school volleyball action against Stonewall Jackson on Tuesday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We were very slow for that second set, but when we took that timeout coach Mathias really got us back up,” Strasburg senior Miley Hupp said. “We were determined to come back out and change it.”

Hupp had two kills during the run, while Emily Alexander and Carey Scott had one each. Strasburg senior Haley Copeland also had two service aces as the Rams tied the set at 10-10.

The Generals were able to retake the lead on a kill by Delaney Wallace, but the Rams won five of the next six points to take a 15-12 lead.

There was a 10-minute delay at the scorer’s table and when play resumed the Rams took total charge of the set. Strasburg won 10 of the next 12 points to put the second set away.

“After that delay it all went downhill,” Stonewall Jackson coach Lindsey Dinges said. “Strasburg used that and they got the momentum back, and after that we lost the momentum and we never got it back.”

Stonewall's Israel Blank goes up high for a kill during high school volleyball Tuesday night against Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

It was all Strasburg in the third set. The Rams took a commanding 12-2 lead and cruised to the sweep.

Mathias said the Rams struggled with passing in the first two sets.

“The passes –we didn’t get them up to the net for our setters to get completely under them,” Mathias said. “So the setters were struggling to get under the ball and get the sets on the net. I felt like we were setting the ball too far from the net and not being able to attack.”

The first set was very close throughout. Strasburg ran off five straight points, including four on the serve of senior Kelsey Jenkins, to take a 12-8 edge. The Generals were able to cut the lead to two points three times, but the Rams responded each time.

Two kills by Rachel Funkhouser helped the Rams get some extra breathing room and take a 20-15 lead.

Strasburg's Cassie Cooper gets the third hit across the net as teammates Mikayla Kohlaas, top, and Miley Hupp, bottom, look on during high school volleyball action against Stonewall Jackson on Tuesday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Rams had a balanced attack as Funkhouser had eight kills to lead the team. Cortney McDonald had seven and Hupp had six for Strasburg.

“They’re all pushing each other to get on the floor in practice and they’re doing a nice job,” Mathias said. “Right now it’s pretty much who’s having a good practice the day before and who’s having a good warmup as to who’s rotating in. It’s nice to have different hitters to go to, especially if somebody’s off.”

The Generals were led by Madison Long with seven kills, while Brittany Singleton had three. Moomaw had seven assists for the Generals.

Dinges said she sees a lot of potential in her team, which only had two wins last year.

“This program, we haven’t been very successful in the past couple years,” Dinges said. “It’s going to be a learning experience for everybody, and now that I’ve got my first year of coaching down I’m hopeful for them. We’ll just look forward for Thursday and hope that we come home with a ‘W.'”

Cassie Cooper and Copeland each had 13 assists and Jenkins had 10 digs for the Rams.

Hupp said she feels good about what the Rams can accomplish this season.

“As we improve throughout the season I think we can definitely go far,” Hupp said. “I think we have a very good team, and our team work is there. We get along very well, so I think it will be a good season.”

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