Area volleyball teams ready for postseason

Strasburg's Emily Alexander, left, and Rachel Funkhouser, right, go up against Warren County's Samantha Schroyer during a match this season in Strasburg. Both teams begin postseason play this week. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Skyline’s volleyball team has shown great improvement from last year to this year, going from one win to seven.

Today the Hawks will look to take another step in showing how far they’ve come as the postseason begins. The six local public high schools begin play in conference tournaments.

Skyline coach Erika Berry said that her team has struggled in the Northwestern District towards the end of the regular season, but she still believes her team can have a solid postseason.

“We’ve had a hard couple weeks with a rough schedule to finish the regular season. It would be hard for anyone going into conference tournament after losing six or seven games,” Berry said. “We are excited, though, and proud of our accomplishments. We were a 1-20 team last year and this year we get to host a conference game. My girls are pumped and ready to play.”

Warren County and Skyline each host a quarterfinal game in the Conference 28 tournament at 6 p.m. today. Warren County, the No. 3 seed, hosts Manassas Park. The Wildcats (10-10) swept Manassas Park earlier this season.

Fourth-seeded Skyline (7-13) hosts fifth-seeded Culpeper in the quarterfinals today. It will be the first time the two schools have played this year.

If Skyline wins today it will play the winner of top-seeded Brentsville and eighth-seeded James Monroe in the semifinals. The Hawks split their two meetings with Brentsville this season.

“I think we have great potential in the conference tournament,” Berry said. “I’m expecting a lot of energy and competitive volleyball.”

If Warren County wins today it will play the winner of second-seeded Riverside and seventh seeded William Monroe. Warren County and William Monroe split its two meetings this season.

No. 5 seed Central (0-20) plays at No. 4 seed Madison County to start the Conference 35 tournament at 6 p.m. today. The winner of that match-up will play at top-seeded George Mason on Tuesday. Madison County swept Central both times this season.

Stonewall Jackson (4-16) plays at William Campbell in a Conference 44 quarterfinal at 6 p.m. today. It will be the first meeting this season between the two teams.

Strasburg (8-12) opens up Conference 35 play on Tuesday. The third-seeded Rams play at second-seeded Clarke County at 6 p.m. The winner of the game advances to next week’s Region 2A East tournament.

The Rams lost twice to the Eagles in the regular season, but both matches were close, including a five-setter in the first meeting.

“I expect that it should be a good match,” Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias said. “We played them tight at Clarke and let the game slip away.”

Strasburg has won three of its last four games, and Mathias said the players have been more relaxed.

“The last week we have just focused on being relaxed and enjoying the last few weeks of the season,” Mathias said. “I have told them to play to win every set.”

Second-seeded Sherando (12-8) has a bye in the first round of the Conference 21A tournament. The Warriors will host the winner of today’s Handley-Harrisonburg contest at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The winner of that game will move into the Region 4A West tournament next week.

Sherando beat Harrisonburg the only time they played this year, and split two meetings with Handley. The Warriors swept Handley in the first meeting. The two teams met again on Oct. 22 with Handley rallying from an 0-2 deficit for a five-set victory.

“We expect to be competitive. We have been all season,” Sherando coach James Minney said. “Placing second in the conference has been a big boost for us. James Wood and Millbrook both defeated us home and away, but were unable to defeat the conference teams that we were able to beat when it counted. That’s what has made it a very competitive conference. We matched up better with some teams and not so well with others.

“We won’t grow over night, but we are playing solid defense and working hard with cutting down on the small mistakes that we can control. If play like we have been playing and can get a few more points each set, the outcome could be different with the teams that beat us in regular season.

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