Hawks fall in five to Tigers

FRONT ROYAL — Skyline’s volleyball team put themselves in perfect position on Thursday night, but were unable to close the match out.

The Hawks saw four match points evaporate in the fourth set and eventually fell, 3-2 (25-18, 16-25, 17-25, 28-26, 15-11), to Brentsville in non-district action.

“We just got timid,” Skyline coach Erika Berry said. “We were scared of making a mistake and Brentsville took advantage of it.”

The Hawks (3-2) broke open a close fourth set and built a 19-12 lead sparked by a block from Nikea Whitemore and a kill by Tori Jo Brown.

The Tigers were able to close the gap a few times, but each time Skyline responded and eventually led 24-22. Back-to-back errors evened the set at 24-24.

Skyline went ahead at 25-24 and at 26-25, but each time an error evened things up. Finally a kill by Sarah Wampler gave Brentsville a 27-26 edge. A Skyline error on the next point sent the match to a fifth set.

“We had a couple volleys there and I think that got them going,” Brenstville coach Amy Beard said. “I called a timeout there at one point and I told them we have to start playing our game. We were letting them control things too much.”

The Hawks were able to take the lead again in the fifth set. A kill each by Katelyn Bolt and Jenna Grim and a service ace from Bolt gave the Hawks an 8-5 lead.

Skyline was still clinging to a 10-8 advantage when back-to-back errors evened the set at 10-10. Brentsville’s Megan Rayno and Skyline’s Brown traded kills, but the Tigers took control after that.

Two kills by Sara Goodson and one from Kylie Loudermilk gave the Tigers a 14-11 edge. Brentsville’s Nicole Bulgrin finished the match off with a game-winning block.

“The kids just need to work on that winning mentality,” Berry said. “They just need to believe in themselves. It comes down to confidence.”

“I’m really proud of the girls,” Beard said. “Skyline’s a very good team. The match could have went either way.”

The Hawks have struggled over the last few seasons, and Berry said the team just needs to learn how to win the close sets and the fifth set. Both of Skyline’s losses have come in a fifth set.

After dropping the first set, 25-18, the Hawks came back strong in the second and third sets. Skyline built a 20-12 lead in the second set and held on to even the match.

In the third set, three service aces in a row from Whitmore gave the Hawks an early cushion. The tigers battled back and had the lead down to two points, 18-16. Two kills from Taylor Ziemer and one from Bolt helped the Hawks pull away and win the set.

The Tigers (3-0) were led by Bulgrin with seven kills and a block and seven kills from Loudermilk.

Brentsville made the regional tournament last year and has only senior on the squad this season.

“We’re young, but the girls are doing a really good job,” Beard said. “They’ve worked hard over the summer and we have a club team, which helps a lot.”

Brown led the Hawks with seven kills and Bolt had six. Whitemore had five kills and three blocks. Jessica Sims had 14 assists, while Rebecca Thomas had 10 assists for the Hawks. Skyline’s Victoria Reinhardt had 30 digs.

The two teams could see each other again in the postseason as both teams are in Conference 28 this season.

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