Mustangs advance past Louisa to JD volleyball semis

Something was off for Monticello’s Charlotte Devine on Tuesday during her team’s 3-1 win over Louisa County, but facing that very same team in Jefferson District quarterfinals, the junior didn’t wait long to have one of those redemption style nights.

“My head was not in the game (on Tuesday),” Devine said. “So my biggest focus was on the mental game, on consistency and placement.”

On a night where Monticello rotated its lineup heavily, Devine was on fire from start to finish for the Mustangs, and with senior setter Mariah Williams not straying away from the hot hand, Monticello cruised past Louisa in a 3-0, 25-15, 25-22, 25-10 to keep its season alive.

“We had our goals set and then one of other goals was to make sure that those who’ve worked hard get playing time in the district tournament,” said Monticello coach John Mitchem. “Charlotte just had a great match tonight and on Tuesday, she came over to us and said that she was just embarrassed with the way she played. So she said she was going to bring it tonight and definitely did.”

Monticello had its way in the first and third sets, building up an early 5-point lead to start the match before claiming a healthy 21-11 advantage. The Lions were unable to close within eight points of the lead, but things were different in game two.

After back-and-forth play to begin the second set, the Mustangs claimed a 4-point lead at 11-7 before going on a 8-2 run to create another commanding deficit. This time though, Louisa rallied down from 21-11 to a 10-1 run of its own to make it a 1-point contest late. However, Monticello held fast to win four the last five points.

The Mustangs rolled in game three, going up 12-4 and never looking back, finishing game and match off at 25-10 with the largest advantage it had all night.

In the first game alone Devine led her team with six kills, followed up that with a 5-kill second set, and finished with four in the final game of the night to finish with 15. Williams had no qualms about going to the well over and over, especially since it worked on Tuesday with hitter Brittany Scott.

“Against them last time I went to Brittany because she was getting every kill and all the blocks, it was an amazing game for her,” Williams said. “This time Charlotte came out hot and kept hitting it hard so I kept feeding her the ball.”

Britanny Scott finished with six kills while Molly Relken and Emily Evans each had five. Williams and Scott were both on fire themselves from the service line, combining for 13 aces with Williams netting a team high eight.

“Monticello is a great serving team and we just got caught on our heels tonight,” said Louisa coach Julie Bryant

Williams also had 23 assists and six digs. Devine and Scott each had eight digs.

For the Lions, their strange season comes to an end. Louisa was forced out of its gym because of the earthquake in Mineral back in August, but in first year as coach, Bryantr credits her team’s seven seniors with not only rallying to be the glue to keep this team together, but school’s entire volleyball program.

“After the earthquake and everything Louisa County’s had to endure with a weird school schedule, these seniors took an iniative and made sure the team pulled together,” Bryant said. “What was amazing though was that they didn’t just do that for this team, they got the eighth grade team together, the JV team and really kept us all unified. They kept us all sane. They were the glue.”

Senior Kerry Chisholm had five kills. Senior libero Logan Torgerson had six digs. Junior Katie Giusto had three kills and two blocks.

Monticello advances to the Jefferson District semifinals where they will play top-seeded Western Albemarle on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Mustangs need to beat Western and the winner of the Powhatan/Fluvanna game on the other side to earn a Region II playoff berth.