Moorefield gets the better of Strasburg

STRASBURG – Thursday night’s effort by the Strasburg High School girls volleyball team was not enough to carry the Rams to a win.

Strasburg (1-3), fresh off a pair of defeats, played some of its best volleyball of the season, yet frittered away points to Moorefield (West Virginia) 3-2 at the boisterous Strasburg gymnasium.

Led by sophomore Madi Foltz, the home team outshot its visitor 49-13 but could not come out of the encounter with a victory. Opening the season with the win, Moorefield held on to win 20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-25, 15-13.

“What I kept telling them was to just keeping hitting, keep swinging,” said Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias, who called several timeouts in the fifth and deciding set. “It seems like the only one who kept swinging in there was Madi. She played a heckuva game.”

“We’ve just got to keep working, maybe working a little harder in practice and carrying it over to the games,” said Strasburg senior Cortney McDonald.

Foltz led all scorers with 10 kills, four aces and one block. She received help from McDonald, who recorded eight kills, two aces and three blocks.

Just about everyone on the Purple lineup scored, from Cassie Cooper, who had eight kills and two aces, down to little-used sophomore Daniella Henry, who tallied three kills and two blocks.

“In volleyball,” said Mathias. “You’ve just got to keep playing. If one thing bad goes wrong, then you have to just play.”

In Game 1, after trailing 4-6, the Rams went on an 8-1 run to lead 12-7 when Moorefield coach Morgan Hill-See called a timeout.

The Rams held that lead until the end to take a 1-0 advantage and get the home crowd in a good mood after the 7 p.m. match start.

Strasburg faltered in Game 2. The Rams trailed 3-0 at the outset, but with the help of junior Hannah Alexander making assists, and Cooper and McDonald doing much of the damage.

SHS took its first lead of Game 2 at 6-5 and then maybe combined for its best ball of the season. It led 15-7 and 18-11 but the West Virginians would not quit.

After Strasburg established a 19-11 lead, the visiting Yellow Jackets outscored them 9-2 to make it 21-20. Mathias called timeout, but errors moved the Jackets ahead 24-21.

Moorefield’s Katlyn Tompkins (three kills, five aces) laid down the shot that won the game and evened things at 1-all.

Once again, in Game No. 3, Moorefield began ahead 4-0. Two later kills by the free-swinging McDonald would tie things at 6.

At 14-13, the Rams were able to take their first lead since the second game. Moorefield called a timeout.

Strasburg was not to be denied. It came out and led 18-15 and expanded that to four when, once again, errors counted as the squads tied at 22. Moorefield scored two and SHS let one get away to fall 2-1 in sets.

In game No. 4, the Rams looked to rebound. They led 10-6 on a volley in which Cooper made a save to continue the game. That was enough confidence to give them the tussle and force a fifth set.

Once again, Strasburg owned a 10-7 lead, but an 0-4 run by Moorefield put the Yellow Jackets ahead 11-10.

Mathias called a timeout, but the visitors expanded their advantage to 13-11 on an ace by Bethany Smith.

Foltz brought her team within 14-13, but a kill by Rachel Malcolm ended the match.

“We’re very young,” Mathias said. “We have a number of freshmen and sophomores we’re trying to work into the lineup. Once we have the pieces set, I think we’ll be OK.”

“We just can’t get down,” said McDonald. “We have a long way to go.”