Green Hornets ease past Generals

QUICKSBURG – Feisty Stonewall Jackson put up a scrap, but it was a matter of too much Abigail Taylor for Wilson Memorial Thursday night as the Green Hornets put together a 3-1 victory (25-8, 25-17, 21-25 and 25-20) in Shenandoah District volleyball.

The Generals (2-8 district, 4-12 overall) improved in each set until the decisive fourth one, and still put together a fight then in losing to the Hornets (7-3, 10-6).

Stonewall had just come off the road after losing to the Shenandoah District’s first (Riverheads) and second (Stuarts Draft) place teams. Both those matches were shut outs. But the home team stayed with its prey this night until the end.

“I have really nothing to criticize us about tonight,” said Stonewall coach Lindsey Dinges. “I thought the girls played well throughout, and even in the fourth set, we didn’t give up. That’s what I was looking for.”

“Usually by the third set we’re kind of down and have a hard game — especially when we’ve lost the first two — but tonight that didn’t happen,” said Stonewall senior Brittany Singleton, who helped key the comeback.

Wilson Memorial had whipped Stonewall 3-1 at home and appeared to be heading that way on Friday, until the Generals made their stand.

The Hornets went ahead 15-4 in the first set by virtue of five straight points — all due to Generals’ errors.

Stonewall put up its first back-to-back points of the set to trail 15-6, but more errors and out-of-bounds shots occurred for the Generals and the Hornets rounded up the first frame for a 1-0 lead.

It was a matter of more bad news, early, for Stonewall in set two. Grace Carter and Taylor scored all of the Hornets’ points of a 6-1 lead.

Emily Ball literally scored the Generals’ first offensive point of the night, then three errors followed for the visitors and the game was tied at 7.

After two more ties, the Hornets rallied to score four consecutive points. Ahead 12-9 Wilson Memorial watched as Stonewall fought back to three ties at 13, 14 and 15, then Taylor and sophomore Hannah Johnson got involved.

“(Taylor’s) amazing,” said General senior Singleton. “She made a lot of plays at the net and the service line.

Taylor, a senior, and Johnson combined for the Hornets’ next 12 points to win the set 25-18. Stonewall got the deficit down to two points, 19-17, but Taylor got one point back. Johnson did the rest, scoring two kills and an ace.

The Generals found their focus in game three. It started off right as they put up their widest lead to that point-3-1. The Hornets and the home-standers played to four ties.

At 7-all, Wilson’s Emma Hilbert scored two aces and a Stonewall error handed back the lead to the visitors 10-7.

Stonewall wiped it off after Dinges called time-out. Two net errors by Wilson Memorial sandwiched around and an ace by Juliana Brill re-tied the fracas, but again, the Hornets bounced back. An ace by Johnson and two kills by Taylor put the Generals behind 16-11. But the Generals would not back down.

They chipped away to trail by four. Then came four consecutive points for the home team to tie at 19. A block by Singleton was key.

“We started to read (Taylor) a little bit in that third game. She’s awesome but maybe we started to fill in, at least where we thought the ball was going,” Singleton said.

After a Wilson coach Lauren Grove timeout, Stonewall broke a 21-all tie. Singleton earned three straight kills, one off her own block. Ahead comfortably, Stonewall took the set on a Wilson error.

It seemed that the Generals might run out of gas in the decider. The Hornets outscored them 19-7, but then momentum switched.

Perhaps putting together their best skein of the season, Stonewall scored nine straight points. The home crowd was happy to see a 12-point bulge shrink to 19-16, but an ace by Johnson headed the Hornets back in a positive direction.

The Generals fended off three match points before Taylor tipped a ball over the net for the five-point difference.

“We won it. It was a little ugly, but we pulled it out,” said Grove. “Maybe we relaxed, but they took a game off of us at home, so we should have known.

“The third game is when we usually have fun, but we decided to have fun with it. ‘Hey, this is a close match; let’s relax and see what happens’,” Singleton said.

“It’s a good feeling. We played well in that third game, now it’s a matter of finding our consistency,” said Dinges.

Taylor led all scorers with 20 kills, 6 aces and 1 block. Johnson added 5 spikes and 3 aces. Emma Harrison added 4 spikes, 2 blocks and 1 ace.

Wilson Memorial out-shot Stonewall 37-12.

The hosts were led by Singleton’s 3 kills and 3 blocks. Jessica Pechie added 2 aces.

“Jessica, Maddy Long and Brittany all played well,” said Dinges.