Sherando volleyball rallies past Millbrook
WINCHESTER — Sherando made nine hitting errors in the opening set against Millbrook, but Warriors coach Chuck Ashby liked how his team responded from there in Thursday night’s Northwestern District volleyball match at Casey Gymnasium.
The Warriors overcame nine ties in both the second and third sets and sophomore hitter Kelsey Singhas made a match-high 14 kills, including key points in both of the second and third sets, to help Sherando rally for a 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18) victory over Millbrook.
The Pioneers (2-6, 0-2 Northwestern, who donated proceeds from the match to Specialove (a privately-funded organization that provides camping experience, support, and resources for children with cancer), came out with inspired play in the opening set and had the momentum early on against Sherando (7-6, 2-1).
“I think we were a little flat coming out but Millbrook has improved immensely,” said Sherando coach Chuck Ashby. “They were getting balls and they played well. I don’t think it was so much us being flat as Millbrook came out ready to roll.”
The Pioneers (2-6, 0-2) overcame a four-point deficit midway through the second set to tie it at 17 (the ninth tie of the set) after an ace by Ashley Humphrey, but Sherando responded with an ace from Anna Haycocks in between a pair of Millbrook hitting errors to take a 20-17 lead.
Millbrook cut the deficit back to one after a kills by senior Sarah Duvall and sophomore Taylor Linder.
But with the Warriors clinging to a 20-19 advantage, Singhas scored on four-straight kills to give Sherando set point.
An errant hit by the Pioneers gave Sherando the set, evening the match 1-1.
The pivotal third set proved to be much like the second with nine ties after a net violation by the Warriors made it 16-16.
But three straight points by Sherando, including a kill and a block from Alaina Combs, gave the Warriors a 19-16 lead and what proved to be the fifth and final lead change of the set.
Millbrook cut the deficit to one after a kill by Linder made it 21-20, but Singhas answered with back-to-back kills to push the Warriors’ lead back to three and force a Pioneers’ timeout.
After an errant hit by Millbrook made it set point for the Warriors, Singhas closed it out with another kill to give Sherando the third set 25-20.
Sherando senior setter Blair Adams said Singhas — the Warriors’ leading hitter who does not play back row — definitely provides a boost when she’s on the court.
“She’s young being a sophomore and everything but I love having her in the front row with me,” said Adams, who had six kills, three aces and assisted on most of Singhas’ points. “It makes me get more intense and everybody out there is more excited.”
Ashby said Singhas has emerged as the team’s go-to hitter and she definitely came up big in sets two and three.
“Kelsey is really coming into her own,” Ashby said. “She leads our team in kills and you’re seeing some versatility with her hitting outside and in the middle and moving around — so I’m very happy with that.”
Millbrook built an early 5-1 lead in the fourth set and held a 14-13 advantage after a Sherando hitting error, but the Warriors fought through three more ties from there to take a two-point advantage after a hitting error by the Pioneers.
With a 20-18 advantage, Adams helped the Warriors close it out from the service line. She had back-to-back aces and then scored on a push that Millbrook couldn’t handle to stretch the Warriors’ lead to five.
Singhas followed with a kill to make it 24-18, and Adams clinched it with her third ace on match point.
Ashby credited his defensive players for doing a good job against Humphrey, Linder and Imani Major on the Pioneers’ front row.
“We knew that [Humphrey] was going to be strong and we knew that Taylor was going to be strong and she hits the ball well outside,” Ashby said. “But you’ve got to give credit to Erica [Scully — at libero] and Erin [Magalis] who battled in the back row.”
Linder led Millbrook with 11 kills, Humphrey added nine kills and six blocks, and Major had five kills, two aces and a block. Duvall led the Pioneers with 19 assists.
Humphrey said it was a tough game against two pretty evenly matched teams.
“I think we’re at equal levels,” Humphrey said. “We played our hardest and we made some mistakes and they made some mistakes. We battled to the end. From the beginning of the season to now, we’ve improved so much. We’ve put in so many hours in practice and it’s paying off.”
Millbrook coach Ashley Sutphin said her team gave a solid effort but just had a few miscues in key moments against the Warriors.
“They definitely picked up their momentum from last game,” Sutphin said. “They played well as a team, they covered but there were just some fundamental mistakes that we can work on. But overall I think we played well as a team and came out strong.”
Note: Sutphin said the team raised about $1,000 for Specialove last year, and with raffles and silent auctions on Thursday night the goal was to equal or exceed that amount.
— Contact Robert Stocks at firstname.lastname@example.org
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