Generals top Falcons again
WOODSTOCK – Madison Long understands the importance of confidence. So when the Stonewall Jackson junior stepped to the service line with her team attempting to rally for the match victory late in the fourth set of Monday’s volleyball match against rival Central, Long did so with a little extra dose of self assurance.
With Stonewall trailing by two points as Central aimed to extend the match to a decisive fifth set, Long served up five straight points, including an ace, to clinch the Generals’ 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23) victory, their second over the Falcons this season.
“I was confident in myself,” Long said. “I knew that if I had any doubts that I probably would’ve messed up, so I just couldn’t think like that. I had to keep my head up and push through.
“I definitely love being in that spot,” she added.
Monday’s match between the two Shenandoah County rivals didn’t appear destined to make it past three games, as the Generals (2-4) seemed to have all of the momentum after capturing victories in the first two sets. But Central (0-5) rallied to a victory in the third set and pushed the issue with another comeback midway through the fourth to claim a late lead.
The Falcons responded to a 7-2 deficit early in the fourth game with a 10-2 run that included a pair of kills by senior Cianne Fields and a block and a kill by junior Tamra Scott. Savannah Gochenour’s kill on a tip gave Central a 12-9 lead, and the senior added a block and back-to-back aces later in the set to push the Falcons to a 22-14 advantage, the largest lead for either team in the match.
“I saw that we were moving and we were talking,” Falcons coach Christy Barb said. “We were picking each other up and … our serve percentage this evening was much stronger than it has been in the past.”
But Stonewall Jackson, which reeled off 11-straight points to rally for a victory in the second set, had another run left in it. Long smashed a kill off a free ball at the net to pull the Generals within six points, and freshman Israel Blank served up an ace as part of a four-point service run to cut Central’s lead to 22-19.
Two Central errors made it 23-21 before Long stepped to the line and delivered the decisive five-point service run, which included four more Falcon errors.
“It’s good to come beat your rival,” Generals coach Lindsey Dinges said. “It should’ve been a 3-0 game. … In the third game they got into each other’s heads. Instead of being supportive I think there was some friction on the court. They weren’t pulling each other up and we can’t have that. But as soon as I called a couple of timeouts they came right back into it.”
Stonewall opened the match with a 25-19 victory and appeared to grab all of the match’s momentum with its set-winning 11-0 run in the second game, which rallied the Generals from an 18-14 deficit. A block by senior Brittany Singleton – her third of the set – clinched the comeback for the Generals, who notched seven total blocks over the four games.
“I feel like we got in their heads,” said Singleton, who finished with five blocks. “I glanced over sometimes and their coach did not look happy. So sometimes when we would like get a block on them or we would get in their heads and send a quick ball over, and they would send it into the net. I think we just started getting in their heads and that’s something that usually happens to us, so the fact that we’ve figured out how to do it to the other team as well is beneficial to us.”
Although Central served up 21 aces and missed only eight serves, the Falcons finished the match with 36 attack errors compared to 28 total kills and didn’t do a good job adjusting their attack, Barb said.
“I think when you’re a front-line hitter the mentality is ‘I’ve got to slam, I’ve got to slam,’ and they think that they have to constantly get a kill but it’s not necessarily that,” Barb said. “It’s just getting the ball into play and then making the other team make the mistake.”
Central smashed a match-high 10 kills in the first set, but its most complete game came in the third as the Falcons rallied from deficits of 20-18 and 23-22 to fight off the sweep. Central served up eight aces in the third game – including the game-clincher by Deserae Grear – in addition to seven total kills.
Fields led Central with a match-high 10 kills in the loss, while Bree Pifer added six kills and Kila Watson four. Grear and Nicole Baker each had four aces for the Falcons, while Baker also added 12 assists.
Long led Stonewall Jackson with seven kills, while Singleton and Delaney Wallace had four kills apiece. Jessie Pechie had 16 digs and Elizabeth Moomaw 11 assists for the Generals, who begin Shenandoah District play with a home match against Page County today.
Central travels to Madison County this evening for its Bull Run District opener.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org