Charlottesville and Orange County were both winless in the Jefferson District before the two squads’ match Thursday night.
But you wouldn’t have known it by the intensity the Black Knights and Hornets brought. By the end, with the crowd getting louder and louder with every point, most observers would have thought a district title was on the line.
After three see-saw, incredibly tight games, Orange managed a hard-fought 3-0 sweep over Charlottesville, winning 25-23, 25-23 and 29-27.
“I’m glad the girls played hard and were able to stick it out,” said Orange coach Jenn Donaldson. “They’ve been playing really well.”
The third game in particular was a battle. Charlottesville jumped out to a 14-9 lead with an Elena Price ace capping the run. But Orange bounced back and eventually grabbed a 24-21 lead pushing Charlottesville to the brink. The Black Knights rallied though and a series of Orange errors knotted the score at 25-25. The teams traded points back and forth, with Charlottesville holding game point once after an Elizabeth Reid kill put them up 27-26. Orange bounced back again though and reeled off three points to clinch.
“It was our best complete match of the year,” said Charlottesville coach Jeff McCutcheon. “It was great to see all three games of good volleyball and not just spurts here and there.”
Reid finished with five aces while senior Amanda Herring had six kills.
Courtney Schmidt came up with a kill to finish off game three and give Orange its first victory of the season. Schmidt, a sophomore, finished with seven kills, three aces and four assists in a well-rounded night on the floor. Schmidt transitioned to outside hitter from her role as a middle blocker for the junior varsity in 2009.
“She has some great potential, she’s been making plays for the team,” Donaldson said.
Emma Chronister also had a strong performance with six kills, two blocks and three aces.
Charlottesville was in position to rally in game two after a pair of aces from Abigail Intolubbe-Chmil, but Orange responded, with Chronister capping the game with a kill for the Hornets.
Charlottesville travels to Goochland next Tuesday while the Hornets host Monticello, currently the district’s second-place squad.