Eagles end Wildcats’ win streak

Warren County's Britney Carter goes up for a kill during a Monday night match against Clarke County in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County’s volleyball team couldn’t finish in Monday night’s Bull Run District match against Clarke County.

The Wildcats, celebrating senior night in their final home game of the regular season, held a late lead in three different games against the visiting Eagles but won just one of those sets as Clarke County picked up a 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 25-21) victory to snap Warren County’s three-game winning streak.

“I thought the girls played hard,” Wildcats head coach Dorinda Robinson said. “We left a few points out on the court there, bad passes, not using the sets that we got. Just little things.”

Warren County (13-9, 7-6 Bull Run) had a chance to seize early momentum against the Eagles (14-5, 10-3), who swept the Wildcats in Berryville nearly a month ago, but couldn’t capitalize on a 2-point lead late in the opening game.

After Kaley Foulks’ kill off an assist from Taryn Post – who had three aces earlier in the game as part of a 6-0 run that gave Warren County an 14-11 lead – gave the Wildcats a 21-19 advantage in the first set, Clarke County reclaimed the lead as two kills by senior Javonna Lansdown sandwiched a kill from Kendra Edgecomb. Wildcats senior Arianna Smoot dropped a kill into the middle of the Eagles’ defense and a Clarke error gave Warren County a 23-22 lead, but Edgecomb delivered another kill and back-to-back Wildcat attack errors gave the Eagles the 25-23 win.

Warren County's Arianna Smoot bumps the ball as teammate Kaley Foulks looks on during their match Monday night against Clarke County in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“Honestly I felt like once we were getting down everyone just had the worst attitudes toward each other,” Wildcats junior middle hitter Britney Carter said. “No one was communicating. It just started going down.

“I think it just hurt us tonight for the most part. I mean we’ve been playing really good our last few games. We’ve been playing really strong.”

Warren County returned the favor in the second game, as the Wildcats erased a 21-18 deficit to tie the match at 1-1.

An Eagles attack error kicked off Warren County’s game-ending 7-0 run, which Smoot followed with an ace to pull the Wildcats within a point. Back-to-back kills by Foulks and Carter gave the Wildcats a 22-21 lead, and Foulks notched another kill and a block to clinch the 25-21 win.

Warren County failed to maintain the momentum, however. After building an 8-4 lead early in game three, the Wildcats found themselves tied with Clarke County 18-18 before the Eagles closed the set with a 7-1 run – which ended with three straight Warren County errors – to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Warren County's Kaley Foulks dinks a shot over to Clarke County's Kendra Edgecomb during Monday night volleyball action in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“When people went up to hit we weren’t covering. People weren’t communicating. They weren’t talking. We just weren’t communicating like we should,” said Carter, who led Warren County with nine kills. “Like the first couple games and the game we won, we came up and we were doing really good but we just went downhill. Once we started losing points is when our heads just dropped and we weren’t willing to get back up.”

The Wildcats held a 19-15 lead late in the fourth set before Clarke County again closed with a big run, this one ending the match. Powered by four kills from Lansdown and two more from Morgan Withers, the Eagles closed the night with a 10-2 run to win the final set, 25-21.

Lansdown proved to be a nuisance to Warren County’s defense all night. Though the Wildcats often redirected Lansdown’s shots throughout the match (Warren County finished with 11 blocks, including four from Smoot and three by Carter), the Clarke County senior still finished with a game-high 28 kills, including 10 in the fourth game.

“We stopped her many times but then she still was able to get points when they needed to get points,” Robinson said.

“I changed my rotation so that it worked out so that my best blocker would be against their best hitter. We got our hands on a lot of balls, we just didn’t penetrate back over the net enough.”

Clarke County's Javonna Lansdown, left, and Meredith Place, right, smother Warren County's Lauren Fox as her hit is blocked during their Monday night match in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Foulks had eight kills, five aces and two blocks for Warren County, while Smoot chipped in two kills and a pair of aces. Morgan Coons led the Wildcats with 14 assists and Post added 11.

Warren County travels to Madison County tonight to wrap up the regular season before opening the playoffs next week. The Wildcats are guaranteed at least the third seed in the Conference 28 tournament, Robinson said, and will host a first-round match next Monday.

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