By Kyle Gotimer
Leesburg (Nov. 15, 2014) – The Loudoun County High School varsity volleyball team won their sixth straight region championship with a five set win over the James Wood High School Colonels (22-25, 25-14, 24-26, 25-6, 15-7) in the VHSL 4A North Region title match. Both teams will advance to state tournament play.
James Wood started the match strong, holding off all Loudoun County efforts and getting themselves a 1-0 set lead over the reigning VHSL 4A state champs with their 25-22 win. James Wood came out hitting in the first set and stuck with that attitude the entire night, but on the other side, Loudoun County began the game with a handful of short tip attempts.
“It really helps the team swing the momentum. When we were down by a couple of points we wanted to stop their run so we knew what we had to do,” junior hitter Taylor Borup said.
Loudoun County decided to switch to the hard hitting strategy in the second set after the Colonel defense stopped those attempts and quickly took advantage of the less aggressive Raider offense. Using this technique Loudoun County was able to win the second set, 25-14.
“We’ve been preparing for James Wood the whole year knowing they were in our bracket, we’ve had them in our sights, and they had us in theirs,” Loudoun County head coach Sherrilyn Hanna said.
James Wood led by double digit points during the third set until the Raiders started their comeback. The Raiders started their rally down by more than 10 and fought until they took a one-point lead over the Colonels. Loudoun County pushed the set past 25 and James Wood managed to escape with a 26-24 win.
Loudoun County dominated in the fourth set with a huge 25-6 win. Junior hitter Rachel Voketaitis led late in the set managing a handful of kills and a couple of great digs.
“It feels great, it really feels good to work as a team and I’m glad we all did this together to pull off the win. It always feels great to get the momentum going and help the team,” Voketaitis said.
Both teams entered the fifth set with power, but Loudoun County won 15-7 as they proved their ability to play both sides off the court with right-handed Borup on the outside, right-handed Voketaitis in the middle, and left-handed Hannah Aycock on the opposite side. The hitters went back-and-forth throughout the fifth set and managed to discombobulate the James Wood defense.
“It means a lot, we really wanted a win so we could have home court advantage for next week,” Borup said.
As the VHSL 4A North Region champions and runners-up, Loudoun County and James Wood will move on to the VHSL 4A state semifinals next week.
Loudoun County will host Jamestown High School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
James Wood will travel to Grafton High School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
Kyle Gotimer is a sophomore at Heritage High School in Leesburg. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.