By Ben Sheridan / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
Top-seeded Goochland volleyball hosted the No. 4 seed William Monroe in a Region 3B semifinal match with a finals appearance and a trip to the State tournament on the line Thursday night.
Goochland got going early and didn’t let off the pedal, rolling 3-0 past William Monroe to clinch that state tournament bid and a shot at a region title in the Bulldogs first year back in Class 3 after a dominant stretch in Class 2.
“We’re really excited, we’re playing extremely well and connecting and it feels amazing to be able to click as a team,” said Goochland’s Trinity Wonderling, who finished with nine assists and five aces on the night.
Goochland’s ability to click started in the first set, and throughout the first half of it, both teams played evenly. But the Bulldogs began to click in the later stages of the set, putting up two aces, one from Wonderling and one from Ellie Spencer, to help them pull away from the Dragons and give them a 25-17 win. Spencer went on to lead the team in digs with 24.
The second set began with William Monroe trying to battle back, scoring the first three points of the set and battling early on in a tug-of-war. After those early struggles, the Bulldogs began to click again and made plays throughout the rest of the set, including two late kills in a row from Mary King who finished with seven kills on the night. The late playmaking by the Bulldogs allowed them to take the set 25-17, and take a 2-0 match lead.
“It was a matter of keeping of heads up and staying in the game, volleyball’s a mental game and at the end of the day we kept our cool and went after it out there,” said Bulldogs coach Rachel Jacobsen.
In the third set, the match became even more competitive, with the Dragons playing with a lot of grit to try to keep the match alive. However, late in the set again it was the Bulldogs finding ways to make plays, including a late kill from Nina Smith who had seven in the match. The final late push from the Bulldogs would give them a 25-20 victory and the match.
The victory gives Goochland an automatic bid for the State tournament, but before that is the Region 3B final, which the Bulldogs will begin preparing for.
“We’ll watch ourselves from tonight and see what we need to focus on more in practice and what we think we need to do more of,” said Wonderling.
That process has been working so far as the Bulldogs find themselves back in a familiar place despite a move up in class — back in the state tournament.