Wildcats sweep rival Hawks

Warren County's Britney Carter goes up for a kill over Skyline's Nikea Whitmore during volleyball action Tuesday night at Warren County High School. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County looked at times like a volleyball team that hadn’t played a match in 11 days during Tuesday’s contest against Skyline, but the Wildcats still enjoyed more consistency than their cross-town rivals.

Warren County’s offensive attack hit a better rhythm in the second game, and the Hawks’ struggles with untimely miscues continued as the Wildcats picked up a 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-22) sweep at home in Conference 28 action.

“Definitely our consistency overall,” Wildcats sophomore outside hitter Kaley Foulks said of the difference-maker in the match. “Our passes were good. Our sets were good. We weren’t lacking in any sort of particular area.”

The Wildcats (2-1), who hadn’t played since a win over Manassas Park on Aug. 25, did commit 31 unforced errors in the victory but those were offset by the 33 committed by Skyline (1-5), which has lost five matches in a row.

Hawks head coach Erika Berry, whose team misfired on 14 serves, said the end result Tuesday night came down to the difference in “consistency and mental toughness” between the two teams.

Warren County's Cor'shauna Cunningham, left, and Kaley Foulks, right, go up to block a hit by Skyline's Jessica Sims. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We’d get up, we’d get on a run and then we just can’t be consistent in putting the ball in the court, serving in the court. Serving killed us tonight,” Berry said.

Though both teams enjoyed key runs while committing 12 unforced error each in the opening game, the Hawks – who rallied from a 14-6 deficit in the set – hurt themselves with errors twice after tying the game over the final 11 points. With the score locked at 21-all, Skyline sent back-to-back attacks sailing long to give Warren County a 2-point lead before the Wildcats secured the 25-22 win and a 1-0 lead.

“I tell the girls on the time, we’re like on this roller coaster,” Berry said. “We get that momentum back but we can’t stick with it. We can’t find a rhythm. … I’m not sure yet if that’s all the new bodies on the court working together, but we’ve gotta make something work here.”

Skyline jumped out on a 4-0 run to open the second game before Warren County responded with its own spurt to take a 5-4 lead. Leading 8-6, the Wildcats – who mustered just four kills in the first game – began to come alive in their attack as two kills by senior Arianna Smoot and single kills by Cor’shauna Cunningham, Mary deVenoge, Lauren Fox in a 7-point span gave them a 13-8 lead.

“I think once we got the spirit of wow, we can actually beat them, we got into it,” said Foulks, who had a game-high eight kills and three aces. “We starting hitting better, we starting hitting and communication, it was just good.”

Warren County's Cor'shauna Cunningham towers over Skyline's Courtney Brothers with a hit during volleyball action Tuesday night. Rich Cooley/Daily

Skyline would counter with kills by Alana Smith and Tamara Grayson and an ace by libero Allison Crescienzi to pull back within 14-13 but wouldn’t get any closer than that as the Wildcats closed the game with an 11-6 run.

The Hawks led for most of the third game before Warren County made a late run to erase a 20-16 deficit. Wildcats sophomore Morgan Coons twice dealt assists to Fox for kills that book ended Coons’ 5-point service run – which also included back-to-back aces – to help Warren County take a 22-20 lead. An ace from Amalia Abrego-Hernandez gave Warren County match point before Foulks ended the game by smashing her fourth kill of the set off a Skyline block for the win.

Wildcats coach Dorinda Robinson said she was pleased with the resiliency her team showed in the third game.

“It showed this team doesn’t give up. We don’t quit,” she said. “We believe in each other and we believe in ourselves. We know that we can come back. I don’t wanna have to do it every game but they know that they can, so that’s good.”

Smoot finished with three kills, three aecs and two blocks for Warren County, while Fox and deVenoge each had four kills. Coons led the Wildcats with 11 assists, while Taryn Post chipped in 10.

Warren County's Arianna Smoot goes up for a kill as Skyline's Courtney Brothers positions herself for a block. Rich Cooley/Daily

Senior setter Jessica Sims led Skyline with five kills and 12 assists, while Alexis Grim, Nikea Whitmore and Alana Smith (four aces) each had three kills for the Hawks.

Skyline returns to action at home against Manassas Park on Thursday while Warren County travels to Rock Ridge Saturday.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com