STRASBURG — Sometimes all a team needs is a spark from one or two players to ignite them to success during a match.
That’s exactly what Strasburg received on Tuesday during its 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-17) win over Page County in Bull Run District volleyball action. The play of senior Kyierra Ashby and junior Kassidy Anderson helped the Rams go on a big run to take an important second set in their win.
“Sometimes we just need to push through our little ruts that we have,” Ashby said. “And if we have that one person that brings up the momentum, it usually brings up the whole team.”
Strasburg trailed throughout the second set by as many as five points. Ashby had two big kills to help bring the team within 21-19. However, the Panthers came right back and eventually took a commanding 24-19 lead.
Anderson started a 7-0 run with an ace and then Ashby followed with another kill to cut the deficit to 24-22.
“As soon as I hit that ball I just felt all the energy come back up, and I knew that we could do it,” Ashby said of the kill. “We just had to work for it.”
Ashby had a block to tie the set at 24 and two points later Anderson finished the comeback off with an ace for a two-set lead.
“I think it kind of clicked that we weren’t talking, we weren’t moving,” Strasburg senior setter/hitter Delainey Stickley said of the comeback. “So I think Kassidy (Anderson) came in and she knew that she needed to be a leader with serving. And we all just followed along in her footsteps, and we had to step it up.”
Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias-Carter said that Anderson’s serving was huge for the team during the comeback.
“Cassidy just got on her serves,” Mathias-Carter said. “We had missed four prior to that, and it was just getting them in and putting the ball in play was key. And I try to tell them all the time that that’s key.”
The Rams (7-5, 3-3 Bull Run) entered Tuesday’s match having lost four of their last five matches, but came out of their funk against Page County.
In the first nine points of the match the Rams had five different players with kills. They took an early 6-3 lead and didn’t look back.
“We came together as a team and talked constantly,” Stickley said. “Everyone did their part, even if they came off the bench. We all knew that each person could get a kill, get a pass, could get a hit — we could do anything. Everything was collective and we were all talking — and it was back to normal.”
The Rams trailed 12-9 in the third set but closed the match with a 16-5 run, aided by five service aces.
Mathias-Carter said she hopes a match like this boosts her team’s confidence and shows them what they are capable of doing all the time.
“It should (boost their confidence) because they can do all things if they just put their minds to it,” she said. “When they’re on all cylinders they’re a good team. It’s just getting them to that point and staying at that point.”
Strasburg’s balanced effort was led by senior hitter Lauren Nofsinger with nine kills and one block and Stickley with five kills, 17 assists and five service aces. Sophomore hitter Kenley Smith had seven kills and Ashby had three kills, one block and two aces for the Rams. Senior Gracie McDonald added four kills and four aces and senior setter Baylee Hodson had six assists and three aces.
The Rams play at first-place East Rockingham tonight. Stickley said that the Rams need to keep playing like they did against Page County and they can beat anyone.
“I think all of us know individually that as long as we work as a team we’re unstoppable,” she said. “And I think going into East Rockm, we know that we need to work as a team, we need to talk and everything will come together like it usually does.”