FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.
HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL: Cougars fall flat against Colonels
Volleyball is often a sport filled with peaks and valleys and getting the peaks at the right time can prove the difference between winning and losing.
On Tuesday night at Courtland High School, the fourth-seeded Cougars hit a valley at the wrong time as fifth-seeded James Wood pulled away in game four to take home a 22–16, 19–25, 25–23, 25–17 victory in the 4A-North Region quarterfinals.
After a rally by the Cougars (24–2) came up just short in the third game, the visitors from Winchester used a big kill after a debated call—the official ruled that the basketball-hoop cables interfered with Courtland’s opportunity to play a ball and that the point had to be replayed—as a momentum boost to break open the close game that was tied 6–6 at that point.
The Colonels (23–4) followed that sequence up by winning the next five points to take an 11–6 lead. Shortly after that run, they extended their advantage to 15–7 on junior captain Ashley Hillyard’s serve.
It was a deficit that the Cougars wouldn’t be able to recover from.
Courtland coach Bob Hott the way the match came to and end was frustrating especially for such a senior-laden team like the Cougars.
“It’s tough to have so many kids graduating and I think reality kind of starts smacking them in the face,” the veteran coach said. “So instead of going, hey, we can do this. It was it’s over.”
Senior Bianca Rumbaugh, who despite the loss registered 29 assists to tie the school’s career sets record of 1,513, said it was a tough setback to take.
“The other team was just making plays that we couldn’t make tonight, which sucked because last week we were making those plays” Rumbaugh said. “But it just wasn’t our night.”
The first game started off back and forth and was tied 9–9 before James Wood began to take control, led by some strong kills from its front line, as it pulled away for a 25–16 win.
The second game mirrored the first, but with the rolls reversed as the Cougars eventually pulled ahead to for a 25–19 win, leveling the match, 1–1.
James Wood came out fast in game three looking to take control of the match. The Colonels built an 8–2 lead before Courtland started to fight back. The Cougars slowly got back within reach with good serving from Madison Caldwell tying the game 10–10.
The two teams traded punches until James Wood pulling ahead by four points several times only to see Courtland fight back to within 24–23. However, the Colonels won the next point on an error by the Cougars to pull ahead 2–1.
Despite getting better as the match went on, Courtland wasn’t able to complete a comeback and continue its season.
“We definitely had momentum in the second game and it’s a shame that we couldn’t carry it,” Rumbaugh said. “I thought we did a lot better in the third and fourth after the first set, we just couldn’t finish.”
Tom Leiss: 540/374-5440