and Cougars advance in volleyball
NOKESVILLE – The Rappahannock County girls volleyball team’s season-long
futility against Brentsville continued in its Bull Run District quarterfinal
match Thursday night.
The sixth-ranked Panthers pushed every district opponent to three games
during the regular season except one: the third-ranked Tigers.
And nothing changed in the postseason, as Brentsville rolled to a 15-4,
15-5 win that propels them into the district semifinals Saturday afternoon
at – ironically – Rappahannock County.
The Tigers will play the winner of No. 2 Madison County and No. 7 George
Mason from their respective quarterfinal bout last night. The match is scheduled
for 12:30 p.m.
Brentsville will also be joined in the semis by No. 5 Manassas Park,
who beat No. 4 Strasburg 15-17, 15-12, 15-5. The Cougars play top-ranked
Clarke County at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Panthers coach Stan Brooks huddled his team following the match, consoled
his young squad that is mainly composed of freshmen and sophomores, and
told them they are team on the rise. However, no amount of optimism could
take the sting away from losing to Brentsville for a third time.
“We haven’t played well against them all year,” Brooks said.
“I think it has to do with style. We try to execute a specific type
of offense and if it falls, then we fall.
“We didn’t execute well, but they outhustled us. You’ve got to
give Brentsville credit.”
“We had a lot of confidence that we could beat them,” Brentsville
coach Bill Teel said.
Whatever swagger the Tigers had exploded after an early first-game flourish.
Julie Englehart sparked Brentsville’s onslaught by opening the contest
with six straight service points, including three aces. It was evident the
Panthers could not combat the velocity of her serves – or her kills. Englehart
had a team-high four defensive kills to go along with with eight service
points, a team-high five aces, one offensive kill, one dig and one assist.
“We were staying on our toes real well,” Englehart said.
Englehart helped the Tigers to a 6-0 advantage – a lead the Tigers would
Janie Jarels scored an ace that made it 7-0, before Brentsville went
on another run.
Melanie Pittman scored six of her team-high nine service points in succession
thanks to a couple aces, some Panthers and a kill from Miles. Before the
Panthers could blink, Brentsville was ahead 13-0.
Rappahannock managed a couple points on an ousted Brentsville return
and an ace from Lara Kreyling. Then following a swap of side outs, they
made it 13-4 on a netted Tiger offering and a kill from sophomore Rachel
Sharpe. Brentsville was not fazed.
Miles closed out the game moments later. The Panthers deflected a volley
out of bounds and Miles ended it with an ace.
The second game was relatively slower than the first. But in a game
that only lasted 35 minutes, slow is a relative term.
Rappahannock gained its first and only lead of the night when Brentsville
returned Elaine Smith’s serve into the net.
But the Panthers would help erase their initial charge. With Jarels
serving, Rappahannock hit three consecutive balls out of play, then watched
Squires score a kill and Jarels hit an ace.
Crystal Phipps then scored a kill and Brentsville led 6-1. Phipps led
the Tigers with a team-high five assists.
Both teams stalemated each other eight times before the Panthers had
the game’s next score, 6-2.
Englehart picked up the pace, however. The senior ripped two aces in
The Panthers made it 9-3 on a kill from Jessica Nawrocki, but it would
be as close as they could get. As Englehart mentioned before, the Tigers
were quick on there feet.
Brentsville made some spectacular saves last night, but the best was
the subsequent side out. Sharpe, the Panthers’ middle hitter, crushed an
attempted kill that appeared to be headed out. Jarels, who was covering
the back line, lunged to keep it in play. The ball fell off Jarels’ attempt
and plunged to the ground. Englehart raced over to save it, and blasted
the ball into the rafters. After bounding off the retracted basketball backboard,
Miles timed an over-the-shoulder side-armed return. The attempt stunned
everyone, including the Panthers’ defense who watched it fall untouched
on their side of the net.
Pittman took serve, Phipps and Miles recorded kills and Brentsville
would climb to a 12-3 lead.
Both teams traded scores. And Lynnette Mumaw clinched the match with
Brentsville will now take on Madison County, a team the Tigers split
with during the regular season. The first meeting was 2-1 decision in favor
of the Mountaineers. The second was a 2-0 sweep by Brentsville.
Teel said the determining factor will be errors.
“Who ever gets out there and makes the least mistakes is going
to win,” Teel said. “I think we got a good shot at it.”
“If we go out there and play like the way we played tonight, we
can beat anyone, truthfully,” Englehart said.