Balanced Wildcats sweep past Rams

Warren County's Arianna Smoot goes up for a kill over the outstretched arms of Strasburg's Madison Foltz during a Thursday night volleyball match in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — With the regular season winding down Warren County picked a good time to be playing some of its best volleyball.

The Wildcats used a balanced attack at the net to sweep past Strasburg, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-17), on Thursday in Bull Run District action. It was also Warren County’s pink night and the team was dressed in pink uniforms.

“I think that is one of the best games that we have played together as a team,” Warren County senior Arianna Smoot said. “It was very intense. I don’t know if it was the pink game or what, but we all came together. We were excited. It was the pink game so were excited. I just feel like we really want to win conference, so that’s what we’re working towards.”

The Wildcats, which had all six of their hitters get kills in the match, started off strong in the opening set. They had a quick 7-3 lead, aided by a block and three aces from Smoot and a kill each by Mary deVenoge and Cor’shauna Cunningham.

Two kills by Cassie Cooper helped keep the Rams within three points, but a 10-0 run by Warren County gave the Wildcats a 19-9 edge.

Warren County's Britney Carter goes up for a kill under the outstretched hands of Strasburg's Daniella Henry, left, and Hanah Alexander, right, during volleyball action Thursday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

An ace each by Kaley Foulks and Taryn Post helped the Wildcats seal the win.

Foulks, didn’t have a kill in the first set, but more than made up for it in the last two. She finished with a match-high 10 kills.

“The first set was kind of difficult for me,” Foulks said. “My teammates helped pick me up.”

Foulks had three kills in the first five points in the second set. The Wildcats built leads of 8-0 and 14-2 in the second set.

The Rams (5-13, 2-10 Bull Run) battled back as Daniella Henry had a kill and two blocks to cut the lead to 23-17. However, a Strasburg error and another kill by Foulks sealed the second set.

Strasburg's Daniella Henry goes up for kill as Warren County's Britney Carter defends during volleyball action Thursday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg grabbed the momentum in the third set. Two kills by Madison Foltz and one by Mikayla Kohlhaas helped give the Rams a 14-11 lead.

The Wildcats (12-8, 7-5 Bull Run) responded after a timeout by coach Dorinda Robinson.

“I just told them to settle down and finish it out. Play like they’re capable of playing,” Robinson said. “I know they didn’t want to go to a fourth game.”

Foulks had two kills to help cut the lead to 16-14. On the serves of Smoot the Wildcats ran off seven straight points to take control. Foulks had two kills, Britney Carter had one kill and Cunningham had a block during the spurt.

A kill by Strasburg’s Hannah Alexander cut the lead to 20-17, but three Strasburg errors and two aces by Foulks sealed the match.

“I think we started going on service runs,” Foulks said of the third-set rally. “That always boosts our confidence.”

It was the Rams’ sixth straight loss, all of which has come in three sets.

“It’s like they didn’t even want to be here,” Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias said. “I thought the third set we played a little bit, but I don’t know. I’m very frustrated with everything. I don’t have any answers. It’s something we’ve been struggling with all season.”

Robinson said she’s been very happy with the way Cunningham has been playing for the Wildcats.

“Cor’shauna has really come around these last couple games,” Robinson said. “She started playing well. She’s become an offensive force for us now, when it was just her defensive presence at the net. Now she’s getting more into it offensively.”

Cooper led the Rams with five kills, while Henry had 3 kills and three blocks.

Mathias said she wants her team to turn things around with only a week left in the regular season.

“I’m trying to get them to finish strong, but they’re fighting me every step of the way and I don’t know what the deal is,” Mathias said.

Smoot had four kills and four blocks, and Cunningham had five kills and two blocks for the Wildcats. Carter had four kills and deVenoge added two kills for Warren County.

Foulks said she feels good about how the team is playing at the end of the regular season.

“This is the best team I’ve been a part of throughout my entire high school career. We really have a bond,” Foulks said. “We have a lot of people that can do specific things this year. We have a bunch of specific back row people, super good at that. We have a bunch of really good hitters. We have two amazing setters.

“We’re trying to start a winning streak going into conference – hoping to finish strong.”

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