Warriors rally to complete sweep over Judges
STEPHENS CITY – Trailing throughout the third set, Sherando dug in, held its composure and made a rally when it counted the most on Thursday night.
The Warriors responded to a little adversity to finish off a 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 26-24) victory over Handley in Northwestern District volleyball action.
“I guess we just let down just a little bit, and we were like ‘no, we need to finish this in three,'” Sherando senior hitter Kelsey Singhas said. “… We have fight and determination to win, and we want to win. So, I feel like that motivates us a lot.”
Sherando coach James Minney said that Handley played better in the third set, and began tipping the ball which forced the Warriors to change their defense.
Handley’s finesse game helped them stay even with Sherando throughout much of the set. The Judges surged ahead 17-14 on a kill each by Elizabeth Homan and Maggie Wise.
A kill by Sherando senior Audra Smelser and two kills and a block by Singhas helped the Warriors even things at 19-19. The Judges responded taking leads of 22-20 and 23-21 on two kills by Lauren Morris.
A Handley error, a kill by Mackenzie Cornwell and a block by Dreaya Somerville gave the Warriors a 24-23 edge.
On the next point, Sherando junior Alaina Paige was caught off guard and sent a spike into the net, but she came right back with a kill on the next point.
“I wanted to redeem myself for sure,” Paige said of the kill. “It felt very good. I just wanted to win. We all wanted to win.”
Singhas put the match away with a kill to complete the comeback and the sweep.
“I think the biggest attribute tonight was holding it together,” Minney said. “They could have folded and went to a fourth or fifth set. They stayed in and stayed with it, and that’s something we haven’t done all season.”
Sherando (9-3, 2-1 Northwestern) was able to build early leads in each of the first two sets. The Warriors used a 7-2 run to build a seven-point lead in the opening set and held on the rest of the way.
It was more of the same in the second set. Sherando closed the set on an 8-2 run, including back-to-back aces by Brooke Aston.
“I feel like we played well,” Singhas said. “I feel like this is how we’re going to play the rest of the season, and it’s going to be good.”
Minney said he was also very pleased with the play of Smelser. The middle hitter finished with six kills and two blocks.
“I can’t give her enough credit,” Minney said. “She’s come a long ways and helped us out with the middle, and I’m very, very pleased. She had some blocks. She scored a lot of points tonight for a middle that we don’t set much. … Audra did really well tonight, and I’m very pleased with seeing her coming out of her shell and start really going off. I kept telling the setters you gotta set her more, set her more because she’s scoring.”
Singhas led the Warriors with 13 kills and two blocks, while Paige had eight kills and three blocks. Cornwell added three kills, and Somerville had two kills and a block for Sherando.
The Warriors have two key district and Conference 21A matches next week, hosting Millbrook on Monday and James Wood on Thursday.
“I feel like we’re definitely ready, and just coming from this win is going to help us through next week,” Singhas said. “We’re just going to build off of it.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org