Rams top Mountaineers in four sets

STRASBURG – Strasburg’s volleyball team grabbed the momentum early against Madison County and kept it for most of the match.

The Rams started strong and finished strong in a 3-1 (25-13, 25-19, 18-25, 25-13) win over the Mountaineers in Bull Run District volleyball action Wednesday.

“It was really nice considering we’ve been on a losing streak,” Strasburg senior Cassie Cooper said. “It boosts our confidence and lets us know that we can win a game if we just play as a team.”

Cooper said the Rams played well on Tuesday against Rappahannock County in a 3-0 loss, and the team wanted to carry that over against the Mountaineers and they did.

Strasburg (3-5, 1-1 Bull Run) built a quick 11-4 lead aided by a kill each from Madison Foltz, Cortney McDonald and Jesse Boyce and a block from Daniella Henry.

The Mountaineers (4-4, 1-1 Bull Run) closed the gap to 13-8, but the Rams responded with a combined four kills in five points to stretch the lead to 17-9.

A few points later, Henry, who finished with four kills and nine blocks, had a kill and a block on back-to-back points to help put the set away.

Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias said getting off to a strong start hasn’t been a problem for her team, but they’ve struggled to keep the momentum going in the second set in a lot of their matches.

The Rams didn’t let up against the Mountaineers. Two kills by Cortney McDonald and one by Mikayla Kohlhaas helped Strasburg take an early 8-5 lead.

“In our past games we’ve started out really strong in the first set and then we kind of plateaued or went downhill,” Henry said. “So for us to be consistent through the first and second sets was really a huge step for us.”

Boyce had three kills in the span of seven points, and another block by Henry helped push the lead to 19-9.

Madison County came back, led by a kill each from Sarah Good, Allie Burbridge and Makenna Santinga, to cut the lead to 23-19.

However, a kill by Cooper and a Madison County error gave the Rams the set.

The third set was tied 8-8, including two more blocks from Henry, before the Mountaineers pulled away. They ran off 10 straight points and held on for the set.

“We came out really well and then the third game we just kind of stopped,” Cooper said. “We felt like we had it and we just kind of slowed down, and the fourth game we picked it up and we got a win.”

The fourth set was close until a kill by Boyce, two service aces by Cortney McDonald and two aces by Cooper helped push the lead to 17-10.

The Mountaineers cut the lead to 18-12, aided by a kill from Santinga, but Henry helped seal the win. The 6-foot-2 sophomore had a kill and two blocks to help push the lead to 22-12.

“We won our first two sets, we lost the third set, I was like I need to step it up to make sure that we seal the deal and we win the game,” Henry said.

Mathias said she was really happy with the enthusiasm the entire team showed – even the bench.

“We’ve been talking about that in practice and even in games about staying up and keeping the enthusiasm and momentum on our side,” Mathias said. “I told the bench people (after the match) even though you didn’t get in you were a big part of the win, because you stayed in it and you were cheering. It’s just a whole different mentality when you do that.”

Boyce had seven kills and Kohlhaas had six kills for the Rams. Cooper finished with 12 assists, four kills and five service aces, and McDonald had four kills and five digs for the Rams.

Mathias said the win was a real positive step for her young squad.

“We’re coming into our own, trusting and building that camaraderie,” Mathias said. “It’s going to keep getting better because I have a lot of young kids. As long as they continue growing and being confident it’s going to help us in the future.”

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