Hedgesville volleyball sweeps Sherando
Posted: October 3, 2012
Special to The Winchester Star
STEPHENS CITY — For a team that knew nothing about its opponent, Hedgesville (W.Va.) had enough court awareness to find plenty of spots to drop kills on Sherando.
It didn't really matter how the Eagles went on the attack, senior opposite Kaitlyn Semler had an uncanny knack of finding where exactly an attack was needed for a point.
Hedgesville swept Sherando 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-16) in the only meeting this season between the two non-district volleyball foes on Tuesday night, mixing the attacks well enough to get at least five kills from four different players.
But no one had the kind of impact like the 6-foot Semler, who produced a match-best 16 kills and had just two attack errors.
“I was impressed with that No. 10 [Semler],” Sherando coach Chuck Ashby said. “When I saw her hit in warmups, I was like ‘OK.’ And then when she got in the [match], she was so smart. That first set, she had [five] kills, but they were barely touched.”
Sherando’s misfortunes began not long after the opening exchange. The Warriors and Eagles were involved in a number of long rallies, and both defenses did what they could to keep balls in play.
But far too often, Hedgesville had just enough grit to outlast Sherando (8-4, 2-1 Northwestern District) and win the point.
“Defensively, they got everything [back],” Ashby said. “And, we struggle with that. I think it is the focus. We get a team who digs us, and the ball comes back and we seem to be not sure what the next step is. I told the girls that I am going to take the blame for [Tuesday’s loss] because I really think — nothing against Hedgesville — but I did a lot of lineup changes tonight.
“... I just take full responsibility. We just didn’t play, and we weren’t consistent. If you don’t know somebody like [Hedgesville], it’s hard to prepare.”
The Eagles, who last month defeated the only other Northwestern District team they faced in Millbrook in three sets on the road, never trailed in either the first or third sets, and Sherando’s biggest lead of the match came at four points (10-6, 11-7) twice in the second set.
Hedgesville, besides getting brilliant back-row play much of the way led by senior libero Cassidy Ferrari, frustrated the Warriors with its ability to dig hits and provide good serve-receive (Sherando collected just five aces in the loss).
With sophomore Taylor Fox (31 assists) providing sets to senior outside Jordan Butler (eight kills, five aces), junior opposite Allyson Perrell (five kills, including four in the clinching set), and sophomore middle Hayley Eppinger (five kills) for good balance, Hedgesville coach Joy Vandine was pleased to receive so many contributions in the road win.
“It really was a team effort,” Vandine said. “They were all in there hitting the ball, digging the ball, and really thinking about working together.”
Hedgesville jumped to an 8-1 led in the first set behind two early kills from Semler and three aces by Butler. Sherando scored seven of the next nine points to close to 10-8, and was still down only 14-10 after a kill from senior outside Ryan Magalis.
On the next exchange, Semler went with a soft floater that dropped for a kill and returned sideout. Semler followed that with another kill, hitting down with power, and the Eagles were on their way to a 9-0 run.
With each passing point during the Hedgesville run the frustration grew for the Warriors, who had most of their 10 first-set attack errors during the span.
Magalis and senior opposite Jessica Henry (team-best seven kills) each had a kill, and recent junior varsity call-up Michelle Baker (two kills, two solo blocks) had a late block, but a missed serve by the Warriors allowed the Eagles to finish out the first set.
Each team had collected eight kills in the first set, but Hedgesville began to dominate more with its attacks in the second set. Sherando competed well at times in the set, taking an 11-7 lead after a Magalis kill.
Looking to get a mix on the front line, the Eagles had kills from three different players to tie the set at 11. A tap to the middle by Semler provided the tying point, but Sherando scored the next two points to regain the lead.
Still, Semler would not go away.
Her nice placement of a kill to the front line caught the Warriors off-guard and tied it again at 13.
Her fifth kill of the set — a hit down the line that was unreturnable — pumped Semler up a few exchanges later and sent the Eagles up 16-14. Sherando never got closer than two after that, and the Eagles got six more kills to finish the set.
Hedgesville, which collected 16 kills alone in the second set, got the clincher from Eppinger off a deflection.
So good was Hedgesville's execution that it had just six attack errors in the match. The Eagles had none in the clinching set.
“We’ve been working on our offense to have more variety with what we're doing,” Vandine said. “Just moving the ball more, and they did a good job with that tonight.”
The Warriors fell behind big again in the third set, as Semler had three kills and a shared block and Perrell added two kills, to help the Eagles jump to a 10-3 lead. On her attacks for points Semler went short, had another placed attack, and got a runner to fall within the first eight points scored by Hedgesville in the set.
Even dealing with Semler (who had her biggest contribution with six kills in the third set), Sherando at least brought the attacks a little better and made a drive to extend the match.
Down seven, Sherando got three straight points in the middle of the third set. Junior setter Blair Adams (22 assists) had an ace, senior middle Cassie Slater (who had three of her five kills in the third set) lowered a kill, and Adams had a serve drop between two on the back row on a rare serve-receive error by the Eagles, to bring the Warriors to within 18-14.
From there, Sherando did not score another offensive point. A kill by Semler and two from Butler down the stretch helped Hedgesville close with a 7-2 run to gain its sweep.
The Warriors were coming off a hard-fought sweep (two sets were won at 26-24) at Skyline on Monday night, but Ashby did not want to blame fatigue in any way with Tuesday’s non-district loss.
“We just need to sit down and [have] a big group hug and see what we come up with Thursday,” said Ashby, who will have only one practice to prepare for hard-hitting Handley, which will pay a visit for a key Northwestern District match.
“I told them in the [post-match] huddle that it was my fault [for the loss], but [also] I wasn’t seeing the heart that we had against Martinsburg and other teams earlier in the season. I don’t know if they were frustrated about the lineup getting moved around. Again, maybe we were looking past Hedgesville to Thursday’s match, and we got to focus on that. I don't know.”