Wildcats continue success against Hawks, keep building momentum on volleyball court
FRONT ROYAL – Warren County High School’s volleyball team beat Skyline all three times the two squads met on the court during the 2016 season. The Wildcats continued that run of recent success against their cross-town rivals on Monday night.
Warren County turned what began as a back-and-forth contest into a rout, sweeping the visiting Hawks 3-0 by scores of 25-13, 25-16 and 25-12 in what was the Wildcats’ first match of the season against a Class 3 Northwestern District opponent.
“It is definitely our favorite win of the year. Definitely,” said Wildcats junior hitter Kaley Foulks, who finished with 14 kills and two aces in the win. “And our crowd always helps. We love playing at home.”
Monday’s match certainly had a rivalry feel, as both schools were well represented by rowdy student sections that maintained energy throughout the match as they hurled chants at each other across the gymnasium.
A group of Skyline students brought blue and green flags imprinted with the words “Skyline Hawks” and “SHS,” while Warren County’s student section – comprised largely of Wildcat football players – led the volleyball team’s charge out of the locker room and stormed the court following the Wildcats’ win.
“I just think it’s awesome when (Warren County head football coach Brian Bush), he tells all the football boys to come and all of them come,” Foulks said. “They even had themes tonight. I mean everyone was there, everyone was super excited. It wasn’t like they had to be there. They were doing cheers. They wanted to be there. They made posters. They were yelling. It was really nice.
“We just love playing with a big crowd,” she added. “It’s awesome.”
The match reached its most competitive point at the very start, as both teams traded points to a 10-10 tie before two kills and a block from Wildcats (7-4, 1-0 Northwestern District, Class 3) senior Britney Carter helped trigger a 5-0 Warren County run.
The Wildcats went on to score 15 of the final 18 points in the first set.
Warren County opened up a 12-6 lead in the second game en route to the 25-16 victory, and then rolled to a 13-point win in the final set behind 10 combined kills from Foulks and Carter.
Carter complemented Foulks’ team-leading effort with seven kills and a block, while junior Lauren Fox chipped in three kills and two blocks. Morgan Coons led the Wildcats with 22 assists.
Monday’s victory was the third straight for Warren County, which has built some momentum entering the heart of its district schedule. The Wildcats’ four losses this season have come against Class 4 Northwestern District opponents, but they play nothing but Class 3 district competition the rest of the way.
“I think they understand the potential that they do have,” Wildcats head coach Dorinda Robinson said. “They can go a long way if they want to. They have the capability of it, just see what they do with it.
“We can always get better,” she added. “We can always do better passing, make it easier for our setter, give her more options when she is setting.”
For Skyline (6-5, 1-1), Monday’s loss was its third straight after opening the season with a 6-2 record, the Hawks’ best start under head coach Erika Berry. Berry said after the loss that she felt the Hawks were “losing a little bit of that unity” that propelled Skyline’s success early on.
“This is a first for us, to have that start of a winning season and my girls are learning how to win and knowing that Skyline volleyball can do that,” Berry said.
Shyla Schmitz, a junior, led the Hawks with five kills in Monday’s loss, while Courtney Brothers (two aces), Molly Meador and Alana Smith each had four kills. Tamara Grayson had 16 assists.
Skyline hurt itself with unforced errors against Warren County, committing nine service errors and 22 attacking errors.
“We’re having some issues with a couple rotations. It’s been a weak part and before we’ve been able to get ourselves out of it, but we’ve been struggling just finding consistency in our hits, being aggressive at the net, somebody who can put the ball away.
“It’s always hard walking into this gym and trying to do something in general. I feel like it’s a mental game. We’re definitely better than that. That’s not a good Skyline showing. It’s not fair to say that’s who we are.”