Spotswood outlasts Sherando in volleyball

STEPHENS CITY – Group 3A Spotswood High School held on Thursday night to nip 4A Sherando in nonconference volleyball here.

The 3-2 victory by the Trail Blazers – and the way they did it – came as no surprise to Warrior coach James Minney.

“We’re out of shape,” he said matter-of-factly after the Blazers’ 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 23-25 and 15-4 victory. “I think it kind of showed there at the end, we were kind of winded. I thought that would happen.”

There was a method to Minney’s madness. The Blazers brought seven seniors to the Sherando gym and a talented bench. They were taller than their hosts and certainly deeper.

And yet, the Warriors almost pulled out the unlikely win.

“When you have a team as young as we are, you either have to play a lot in practice or you run. With our group, I just decided that we needed to play more than we run,” said the coach.

Certainly the Warriors (1-1) put up a good fight against their advanced foe (2-0). In the end it was too much Blazers.

Sherando seemed like it gave Spotswood a wake-up call in the first game of the five-setter.

The Blazers scored six straight points in the game to lead 18-17, but the game was tied four times after that.

The Warriors’ Melissa Gaudette scored the winning point for the early 1-0 lead in games.

Gaudette was outstanding. Having played on an injured foot through much of her junior campaign, the senior hitter tallied 14 kills to lead her team.

“Melissa’s finally playing healthy and it showed tonight. She played her heart out,” said Minney.

Gaudette, the tallest player on the team, is helping to solve the departure from 2015 standout Kelsey Singhas. She and six other ’15 seniors have departed the scene. Minney returned four seniors to year’s team.

Spotswood jumped out of the Game 2 box leading 6-0. It led by as many as seven before Sherando whittled it down to 19-18. But three straight points on a kill, an ace and a block gave the Blazers the necessary cushion.

The Blazers kept coming in Game 3. Three kills and a block amounted to a 22-16 lead they would not relinquish.

Game 4 was a different story. Close throughout, there were seven ties. With Alaina Paige serving the Warriors found their way to the 2-point win.

But it was obvious the team was tired out after four sets.