It’s that kind of year in the Jefferson District on the volleyball court. Western Albemarle swept Fluvanna County in the first meeting in Palmyra. This time in Crozet the script was flipped with the Flucos — coming off the heels of a narrow five set loss to Albemarle — sweeping the Warriors 2-0 in close sets, 25-20, 25-23, 25-22.
“I think the difference between this one and the other was chemistry and defense,” said Fluvanna coach Christi Harlowe-Garrett. “The kids are playing with each other and for each other. When that chemistry is missing, it changes everything on the court. Tonight, this week, they’ve been engaged. For us, that’s a big, big thing.”
There were not a lot of big leads or big runs in this match. In the first set things were knotted up at 15-15 and 18-18 until the Flucos won four straight points and then took three of the next five points to win 25-20 with Abby Sherman, Katie Morris and Christian Walker all making big plays late.
“Coming in we were really excited and wanted redemption,” Walker said. “So that first set got our energy going, got us all connected as a team and we worked from there.”
Some momentum carried over into the second set with Fluvanna staking a 3-0 start and going up 8-2. But the Warriors worked their way back into things, cutting the deficit to 13-11. It was back-and-forth from there all the way up to 24-23. However an error at the net gave the Flucos a decisive advantage with a 25-23 win and a 2-0 set lead.
“We battled but we made some mental mistakes, a lack of concentration at times which comes with a lot of young players who are playing at the varsity level for the first time,” said Western coach Ron Pack. “Tonight I thought we did a pretty good job of getting around the block — we told our hitters before the match that hitting line was going to be the best option because we’ve played them once before and they’ve got Christina Walker in the middle and she takes away a lot of the cross court chances.”
The third and final set once again started with a strong start from Fluvanna with a 4-0 run. Western raced back with Cassidy Wilson and Sarah Rhea doing the heavy lifting offensively to cut Fluvanna’s lead to 9-8. The Warriors took their first lead of the set at 19-18. The Flucos were able to take five of the next six points including a big rally at 21-19 to get ahead at 23-19. Western won the next three points to make it 23-22. But the Flucos finished the job and avoided playing a fourth set by taking the next two points including a big stuff block from Evynne Stafford.
“We talk in practice a lot about not focusing on the scoreboard,” Walker said. “Don’t focus on the score, focus on the ball because the score will take care of itself. So that’s what we did tonight along with supporting each other, having your teammates back. That’s what carried us tonight.”
On the night, Walker led the way for Fluvanna with eight kills. Sherman had seven kills and Morris added six. On the other side for Western, Wilson had seven kills and Rhea had six kills. Abby Boitnott had 12 assists. Amber Parker had 28 digs.
The Flucos (9-10) host Louisa County and the Warriors (9-10) travel to Albemarle with both matches on Tuesday at 7 p.m.