Hawks off to fast start on the volleyball court

Skyline's Alana Smith leaps to block a hit by Eastern View's Cammi Easter during volleyball action Thursday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Skyline High School’s volleyball team continued to roll through the early part of its 2017 schedule Thursday night, as the Hawks breezed past visiting Eastern View 3-0 (25-6, 25-12, 25-6) at home.

The win was the second for the Hawks over the Cyclones, including a sweep in Culpeper in the season opener last month, and was the third straight victory overall for Skyline. The Hawks trailed just once after a slow start to the second game in Thursday’s rematch.

“I just like that we stayed up,” Hawks head coach Erika Berry said. “We played our game. We didn’t fall down because our opponent was not at the same level of play as us. And they just stayed aggressive at the net.

“We’ve had a lot of issues with not staying consistent with serves and I thought consistency in serves was good tonight.”

Thursday’s win could serve as a get-right match at the service line for the Hawks (6-2), who fired 20 aces – including 11 in the third game – over the three sets while missing just four serves. Junior hitter Alana Smith led the way with eight aces, senior Tamara Grayson and sophomore Aaliyah Chunn each had four, and Adrianne Kinsey had three in the win.

Skyline's Courtney Brothers blocks a hit by Eastern View's Chrissy Berty during volleyball action Thursday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We’ve just been working on it. That’s been one of our biggest errors in games in general and luckily it hasn’t killed us yet,” Berry said of Skyline’s serving. “But we really need to fix that because that’s an area that we can adjust.”

The win over the Cyclones gave Skyline its sixth victory of the season, already double the Hawks’ win total from the entire 2016 campaign. The team is already two wins shy of its highest total in a season (eight) since Berry took over the program in 2014.

“Coming into the season, the coaches talked and we just kind of found some values that the Skyline program really needs to incorporate into our program. And one of those was unity, and these girls have really found that,” Berry said. “(With) 14 girls it’s hard to do that and no matter what, they all come together and you can really see that on the court. They’re comfortable, they’re moving, they’re talking.”

And they’re versatile. Three different Hawks – Smith, Molly Meador and Ali Haffer – had four kills in Thursday’s win, and Skyline’s leader in kills, Grayson (six), also finished with eight assists, second only to Kinsey’s 11.

The Hawks return to action next Tuesday at home against James Wood before traveling to Strasburg on Thursday.

Skyline's Molly Meador goes up for a kill during a volleyball match against Eastern View last season. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We’ve talked about discipline, unity, focus, being respectful to each other. And just playing the game, being competitive and aggressive,” Berry said. “They finally realize what that means and what that can do for them in the program.”

Warren County (6-4, 0-4 Northwestern District)

The Wildcats saw their two-match winning streak snapped with a pair of losses to Class 4 Northwestern District opponents this week.

Warren County started the week with a close, five-set loss (18-25, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23, 5-15) to Sherando on the road. Kaley Foulks, one of the area’s top hitters, struck for 24 kills and two aces to go along with 12 digs in the losing effort. Lauren Fox and Britney Carter had six kills each, Morgan Coons had 40 assists and Chelsea Ruffner had seven digs in the match.

The Wildcats were swept by James Wood two nights later by scores of 25-15, 25-16 and 25-21, with Foulks adding 12 more kills and five digs. Carter had five kills, Coons 20 assists and Ruffner 10 digs.

Skyline's Raleigh Hirsch takes a third hit over the net during Thursday night's game against Eastern View. Rich Cooley/Daily

Warren County travels to Strasburg on Tuesday.

Central (0-8, 0-0 Bull Run District)

The Falcons’ losing streak has reached eight matches to start the season with a loss to East Rockingham at home this past Monday.

Central took the opening set from the Eagles, 26-24 – the fifth game the Falcons have won this season – before dropping close games by scores of 25-23, 25-18 and 25-23.

The Falcons return to action Monday against county rival Stonewall Jackson in another one-match week for Central.

Skyline's Ali Haffer goes up for a kill over Eastern View's Cammi Easter during volleyball action Thursday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Stonewall Jackson (0-8 overall, 0-6 Shenandoah District)

The Generals’  struggles on the volleyball court continued this week with district losses to Page County and Stuarts Draft.

Stonewall beat Page County in the first game of Tuesday’s home game, 25-23, but fell 25-18, 25-13 and 25-18 in three straight sets to lose the match 3-1.

The Generals were swept on the road by Stuarts Draft on Thursday, losing 25-15, 25-10 and 25-14.

Strasburg (4-3, 0-0 Bull Run District)

Skyline's Aaliyah Chunn hits over Eastern View's Chrissy Berty during a volleyball match in Front Royal last season. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Rams snapped a two-match losing streak with a 3-1 victory on the road at Moorefield (West Virginia) on Thursday. Strasburg jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Yellow Jackets with wins of 25-14 and 25-21, dropped the third set 25-18 and bounced back with a close 26-24 win in the fourth game to seal the victory.

Strasburg fell to Page County, 3-1, on Monday.

Sherando (4-3, 3-1 Northwestern District)

The Warriors’ lone match this past week came in its five-setter against Warren County. Sherando travels to Liberty on Tuesday and hosts James Wood on Thursday.