When the Louisa Lions volleyball team traveled to Albemarle last week, they came up short on their goal to score at least 15 points in each set. They more than made up for that when they hosted the Patriots on March 29. Albemarle won the game 3-1, but the Lions didn’t make it easy, scoring no less than 15 points in each set.
The real highlight of the night for the team was getting a win in the third set. Prior to that, the Patriots had won 42 straight sets in the Jefferson District.
“Taking a set from Albemarle, I don’t think they’ve done that since I started coaching here, so that’s a huge win for us,” said head coach Rachel Green. “I told the girls that it may not be a win on the scoreboard, but it’s a win in my book because it was great.”
The Lions set the tone for the game in the opening set, matching the Patriots point-for-point early and then battling back from a 20-12 deficit to pull to within two, 22-20. Albemarle took that set 25-20, and held off another late Louisa push in the second for a 25-17 win to take a 2-0 lead.
Undeterred, Louisa jumped to a quick 3-0 lead in the third set, eventually extending it out to 16-8, with Emma McGehee and Jordan Atwell-Purcell each notching aces along the way. The Patriots found their footing and battled back, going ahead 20-19 late in the set. The Lions battled through and picked up a 25-22 win on another ace from Atwell-Purcell.
“I saw that they were having trouble with short serves, so I was trying to serve it short, but still get it over the net,” she said. “I feel like we really played together as a team tonight and that was just the icing on the cake for me.”
The Patriots took control of the fourth set and rolled to a 25-15 win to take the game.
“They’re finally starting to believe in their abilities, believe in each other and believe in this team,” Green said. “I cannot even express how proud I am of them.”
Kylie Robinson led Louisa’s offense with 10 kills, followed by McGehee with seven. McGehee, Atwell-Purcell and Brady Shifflett each had two aces for the night. On defense, Robinson tallied 15 digs while Shifflett added 13.
The game against Albemarle came in the middle of a full week for the Lions. On March 25, they traveled to Charlottesville, defeating the Black Knights in straight sets (25-19, 25-16, 25-13). Robinson tallied 12 kills and five aces on offense and 16 digs on defense. Abby VanPelt added eight kills and 10 digs for the Lions.
On March 30, fresh off their game against Albemarle, the Lions hosted the Orange County Hornets, winning 3-1. Louisa opened things up with a 25-13 victory in the first set before the Hornets tied things up in the second with a 25-19 win. The Lions took the next two sets 25-16 and 25-15 for the win, bringing their season record to 4-4.
“We played a bit more scattered tonight,” Green said. “We really rose [to the challenge] last night and we didn’t rise tonight, so we’ve got to hit that hard for practice tomorrow and figure that out for Monticello on Thursday.”
McGehee notched 13 kills and four aces for the Lions while Robinson added 11 kills and six aces. VanPelt had six kills and four aces. On defense, Robinson and Shifflett each tallied 18 digs, followed by Atwell-Purcell with nine.
The Lions head to Monticello on April 1, then take on the Western Albemarle Warriors in a pair of back-to-back games on April 5 (away) and 6 (home). Varsity action begins at 6:30 p.m. for all three games.