It was something the Strasburg seniors had never experienced. Thursday night the Rams’ volleyball team won a thrilling five-set match over Rappahannock County.
“It’s a goal achieved,” said senior Delainey Stickley, who said she’s been working to beat Rappahannock since she was an eighth-grader.
The Rams won the match, 3-2 (17-25, 31-29, 22-25, 25-19, 15-7) over the Panthers.
The Rams (5-1, 1-0 Bull Run) fell behind early, dropping the first set 25-17. Panthers’ libero Jenna Robey served the winning point. She finished with 9 aces, 5 of which came in the first set. Robey also served early on in the second set to give the Panthers a 9-3 lead. Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias-Carter took a timeout and made some defensive adjustments. Her team would battle back and tie the score in that set 20-20.
From that point, neither team could put together a run, and with the Strasburg gym getting louder and louder, the teams continued to battle back and forth. Strasburg finally got the 2 points in a row they needed, a kill from Kenley Smith and an ace from Baylee Hodson. Senior Lauren Nofsinger called that tight set a turning point in the match.
“We’re trying to change our attitude this year,” Nofsinger said. “We want to win. We all have the same idea, purpose and goal.”
After the 31-29 second set victory, Strasburg dropped the third set 25-22, but then won two straight sets (25-19,15-7) to take the victory.
Nofsinger led all players with 27 kills, including 6 in the clinching fifth set. Many of her kills were set up by Stickley, a fellow senior. She finished with 34 assists and eight kills of her own. Coach Mathias-Carter said both seniors led by example, playing good team volleyball. They said that’s what allowed the team to claw to a victory after suffering a tough loss to rival Central earlier in the week.
“It’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster,” said Mathias-Carter. “I like this end of it better.”
The win is more than just a confidence booster for Strasburg. It’s also an important Bull Run District win, as the team gets closer to the midpoint of the season.
Other offensive leaders for the Rams included Kenley Smith, who had eight kills and three blocks, and Gracie McDonald and Kyieerra Ashby who each had five kills. McDonald also recorded a team-high five aces.
The Rams have a tough stretch ahead of them, with road games on Monday against Moorefield, West Virginia, and Tuesday against Luray. Mathias-Carter hopes her team can build off of the win and continue to play well as a team as the season continues.
“It’s all about continuing the effort from point one to the end of the match,” she said.