Eagles hold off Hawks in four sets

FRONT ROYAL — Skyline had Clarke County off its game for a while on Thursday night.

However, the Eagles regrouped to pull out a 3-1 (25-14, 19-25, 25-15, 25-20) non-district volleyball victory over the Hawks.

“You can’t really complain,” Skyline volleyball coach Erika Berry said. “They were out there on that roller-coaster momentum. We always play this way against Clarke. It always comes down to the last couple points.”

After the Eagles cruised through the first set, the Hawks turned things around in the second set.

Skyline junior Alexis Grim had two kills and senior Nikea Whitmore had two aces to help the Eagles build an early 8-5 lead.

The Eagles were able to cut the lead to 8-7, but Skyline went on an 11-3 surge to build a 19-10 lead. Skyline sophomore Alana Smith and Whitmore added another ace and the Eagles had six hitting errors during the spurt.

“Skyline came out really tough tonight, and I think that they gave us a lot more than we were ready for tonight,” Clarke County coach Seneca Sowers said. “We were a little bit flat at times. They have a great front line, very strong hitters. They blocked us very well tonight. So we had to make quite a few adjustments.”

The Hawks (1-2) eventually stretched their lead to 22-13, aided by another kill by Grim.

The Eagles (2-0) responded with a 6-1 run. Clarke County’s Javonna Lansdown, Meredith Place and Haley Haun each had a kill during the spurt to cut the lead to 23-19. A kill by Sims and a Clarke County error sealed the set, but the Eagles had some momentum to start the third set.

“We obviously had a down set in the second set,” Sowers said. “We were playing slow. We didn’t have great attitudes even on the court. We looked down. To gain some momentum to even go on that little run, and even though we lost the set, it really helped us lead the momentum into games 3 and 4.”

The Eagles took control early in the third set building an 11-4 lead, led by two kills from Lansdown and one each from Ashley Marean and Morgan Withers.

The fourth set went back and forth until a 12-4 run by the Eagles gave them a 19-11 lead.

The Hawks battled back as Shyla Schmitz had two kills and Molly Meador had one during an 8-3 run, which cut the lead to 22-19.

Lansdown and Haun had a kill each to help seal the victory. Lansdown had 19 kills, 13 digs and two aces, but the Eagles also had five kills each from Marean and Haun.

“We’re trying to really mix it up a little more with out hitters this year. Obviously, Javonna is a fantastic hitter,” Sowers said. “We have Ashley in the middle, who’s really been taking a lot more sets this year. It’s nice to know that we have a strong front line, and wherever the setter needs to get the ball she can get it there. It doesn’t need to be forced to any one position.”

Kendra Edgecomb had 12 assists for the Eagles, while Leah Long had 28 digs.

The Hawks were led by Grim with nine kills, and Whitmore added three. Allison Crescienzi had 30 digs, and Sims had 16 assists for the Hawks.

Berry said she was really happy with the play of Crescienzi.

“I thought Ali saved us a lot tonight,” Berry said. “Digging, being all over the court, and she was there for us and we needed that. She ran that defense, so that we could keep our offense going.”

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