Estes, Panthers down Generals

QUICKSBURG – In a Tuesday loss to Rappahannock High School, members of the Stonewall Jackson girls volleyball team saw the strength of a Bull Run District team they rarely meet in competition.

Julia Estes, the 2015 Bull Run District player of the year and all-region Group A member, pummeled 17 kills and two aces at the Generals’ gym to lead her team to a straight sets win (3-0).

Estes, a senior who also shines in girls basketball and track, teamed with fellow senior Brianna Settle, who tallied 12 kills and four aces.

Together the pair helped the Panthers (3-0) take 36 shots against Stonewall’s defense. Stonewall answered with 10 shots of its own.

The 25-11, 25-11 and 25-14 defeat overshadowed an outstanding effort by Stonewall senior Madison Long.

Long recorded six kills, one ace and three blocks against the experienced Panthers.

“We’ve just got to keep our heads up,” said the senior leader. “We’re at the point now where if something messes up, just a little. We get down. It’s all about confidence and we have to get it going.”

True to Long’s words, the Generals (0-4) started off well, but after pulling with 8-7 in the first game, the hosts saw Settle run off a kill followed by two aces and then Settle came back with an ace to expand Rappahannock County’s lead to 14-7.

Stonewall coach Lindsey Dinges called timeout, after which senior Emily Ball earned a kill to make it 14-8, but that was the closest the hosts would come.

After an early tie at 3-all, Estes slammed home three straight kills to continue the momentum of the visiting team.

“You’ve probably seen Julia at some other sports events,” said Rappahannock coach Courtney Atkins. “She plays a lot of sports and is good at them.”

Stonewall Jackson participates in the Shenandoah District – not the Bull Run – and the Generals have only faced them once. But Warren County and Strasburg see plenty of Rappahannock throughout the year.

“Volleyball is one of our better sports,” said Atkins, “along with wrestling and track and field.”

The team has played in several regional tournaments in recent years.

“Julia does a good job up front for us and Kayla Robey is a good setter. We have several good players,” said Atkins.