By Allen Kha / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
LOVINGSTON — It was an emotional night for defending Group A volleyball state champion Nelson County Thursday evening, with the team honoring both last year’s championship team and this year’s senior class.
In a sense, the festivities almost overshadowed the Governors’ 3-0 straight set victory (25-18, 25-21, 25-15) against visiting Chatham.
“Lot of distractions. We didn’t play very well, at all,” Governors coach Vicki Crawford said. “But I’ll take the win in an environment like this, another one going into the postseason next week.”
Nelson started the match strong, using solid net and set play to jump to an early 14-9 lead in the first game. From there, a resilient but overmatched Chatham squad fought back to bring the Governors’ lead to 17-15, blocking sloppy spikes and capitalizing on an off-night for Nelson’s star outside hitter Ashley Wells.
Using strong net play from middle hitters Madison Carter and Maria McGarry, Nelson regathered itself to close the first game 25-18.
The Governors, however, couldn’t extend their momentum into the second game. With Wells still off her game, Nelson and Chatham traded points for the entirety of the game. With the score knotted at 19-19, the Governors ratcheted up their defensive game to embark on a 6-2 run and secure the second game 25-21.
“Overall, we were just sloppy. I felt like I was letting the team down early as well, not being accurate and off my game,” Wells said. “I just told myself that [I’d be] starting over in middle of second game, going in with a fresh start to take the match.”
In the third and final game, Wells delivered. Seven of Wells’ 11 spikes and three of her five aces on the evening came in the third game, which Nelson captured 25-15. After Chatham ran out to an early 5-1 lead in the match’s ultimate game, Nelson embarked on a 6-0 run to recapture the game lead, one it would not relinquish.
Despite the self-admittedly sloppy play from her team, Crawford was pleased with her team’s victory.
“Sloppy is an understatement for our performance tonight, but again we’ll take the victory. The biggest positive to take away is that we did what we had to to win, but there’s a lot to work on in practice tomorrow,” Crawford said. “The net play was good, but we can only capitalize on having one of [Group A’s] biggest front lines if we have good defense and set play. We’ll get there, because getting to the championship game is our goal again.”