WOODBRIDGE — It’s her first year on the varsity team and Elizabeth Fulton isn’t really sure what she’s capable of as a volleyball player.
Like many of her teammates, the Woodbridge High School junior is still learning: How to hit, how to block and when it’s her turn to take over a match.
“It’s a great experience. I feel like I’ve gotten better as a player from being on varsity,” Fulton said.
One of several promising young players the Vikings are counting on to carry them back to the Northwest Region Tournament, Fulton showed off some of her blossoming skills Monday night as Woodbridge earned its first victory of the season in five games over Colonial Forge. Part of a middle-hitting tandem that also features sophomore Meredith Overmyer, Fulton had eight kills, a pair of blocks and a game-clinching dig on match point to help the Vikings prevail 12-15, 15-7, 15-7, 9-15, 15-6.
“We have to want [the ball] to get it so I called for it a lot,” Fulton said. “I hope I can play like this every night.”
Playing at home for the first time this season, the Vikings avenged last week’s five-game loss to the Eagles by winning a rally-point tie-breaker. Fulton, who played on the Vikings’ junior varsity squad last fall, was right in the middle of the decisive action.
She delivered a pair of kills that staked Woodbridge to an early lead and the Vikings evened their record at 1-1 with a unified effort that featured contributions from virtually the entire lineup.
“We’re all communicating together. Last time, when we got down a few points we got down as a team,” Fulton said. “We pulled together that last game. We proved ourselves tonight.”
The Vikings found out a lot about their chemistry and resilience against Colonial Forge (2-3). Especially late in the match, after they allowed an early 6-1 lead to slip away in what could have been a clinching game four.
“One of our biggest problems has been communication,” senior outside hitter Carmen Myers said. “We have a lot of girls who are up from jayvee and they’re really shy.”
The Vikings are farther along that many people thought they’d be following the graduation of star hitter Shauna Ford. Ford is playing for George Mason University now and Woodbridge is relying on more than one person to replace her.
Fulton is a likely candidate, So is Overmyer, who showed tremendous potential at the net with eight kills and four blocks.
Myers, the foundation of the Vikings defense on the back row, is also an offensive threat. She had a team-high 11 kills on Monday. Sophomore Shaylena Harper, who began the year setting but has apparently found a home at outside hitter, and senior Katie Hyde came up with a half dozen kills each.
The setter’s role belongs primarily to Jessica Rupnick and the senior did a nice job moving the ball around the net in her second varsity start at that position.
In addition to Myers’ diving efforts on the back row, Woodbridge discovered a new generation of defensive standouts in Amelise Javier, Amy Williams and Niki Garlow.
“It’s really mental for us right now,” Myers said. “It’s really early and we’re still trying to figure out where we’re at.”
The visiting Eagles were led by seven kills from sophomore Kay May.