Rams shut out Falcons

Central's Tamra Scott goes up against Strasburg's Emily Alexander, center, and Cortney McDonald, right, during Monday's volleyball match in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Strasburg server Carey Scott stared down 4 set points to help begin Monday night’s volleyball match between Shenandoah County, Bull Run District and Conference 35 foes and helped lead the Rams to a 3-0 straight sets victory over Central at Jerry Walters Court.

Trailing 24-20 in the first set, Scott assisted in breaking the four potential set-deciding points, then enabled her team to take the final two digits in a first frame that the Rams pulled out 26-24. They won the next two sets 25-20 and 25-21 to earn the victory over their Valley Pike rivals.

“I thought breaking those set points was a help. That was a big deal, and it seemed to give us a boost,” said Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias.

“It’s just a matter of concentrating,” said Scott, “you do what you’ve been taught to do. The whole match was kind of a roller-coaster, but we needed points then.”

Central had opened the 4-point difference on the strength of a block and kill and by Kila Watson, who played perhaps her best game of the season.

Strasburg's Rachel Funkhouser dinks the ball to Central's Kila Watson during Monday's match in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

“I told them before we weren’t going to hold anything back. I wanted them to attack, and Kila was one of our most aggressive players,” said Central coach Christy Barb.

On Scott’s serve, Strasburg watched as Central made four straight errors in the game that was decided by the two scores. At 24-all, the Falcons put two balls into the net to give the first set to the visitors.

Both Strasburg (2-6 Bull Run District, 5-8 overall) and Central (0-8, 0-13) met with not only a rivalry game at stake, but both clubs needed victories in the worst way.

Strasburg had not won since knocking off Madison County 3-2 on Sept. 17. In that time, the Rams had lost five straight and seven of their last eight heading into the Falcons’ nest.

Central, meanwhile, was winless. It showed improvement, though a victory remained allusive.

Strasburg's Miley Hupp goes up against Central's Tamra Scott during Monday's volleyball match in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

“I think we played a lot better than last Thursday (in a home loss to Madison). We took some steps. Now we just want a win,” said Barb.

Actually, the Falcons took a step toward that goal in each set, but seemed to lose confidence when the Rams gained momentum.

“I told them in the second set when Strasburg was getting on top, that we had to match that momentum,” the Central coach said.

After Scott’s serving heroics in the first set, it was up to senior Haley Copeland to do similar in the second set.

With Copeland behind the service line, Strasburg jumped ahead 4-0, but Central proved it was not going to fold.

Strasburg's Emily Alexander, left, collides with teammate Cortney McDonald while Central's Kila Watson and Bree Pifer defend during Monday's match in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Falcons forced four ties, but at 9-all, the Rams got busy again. A fault and error combined with kills from Miley Hupp and Emily Alexander put the visitors ahead by four, 13-9. Still the Falcons remained undaunted.

Hupp, a senior, contributed four kills during Set No. 2.

“All the hitters just got together and gave each other high fives, because we knew we needed to score,” said Hupp.

The two teams played to four more ties until Scott and Rachel Funkhouser contributed kills for the Strasburg 2-point lead at 19-17. Central could manage just another point as the Rams went ahead 23-18.

In the third set, Strasburg seemed to be cruising, ahead 16-9, but Central put up its most formidable attack since the first frame. The Falcons scored 6 straight points to trail by one, then tied the set at 17 on a Strasburg error.

The last tie came at 20-all, then the Rams ran off 4 straight points.

“Definitely, our girls seem to play well when it’s a rivalry game,” said Barb.

Emily Alexander and Hupp led Strasburg with six kills apiece. Cassie Cooper and Funkhouser added five kills apiece.

Savannah Gochenour led Central with five kills, an ace and a block. Watson had four kills and two blocks. Tamra Scott added four kills.