A year ago, the Madison County volleyball team watched Poquoson overcome a 2-0 deficit to beat the Mountaineers in the VHSL Class 2 state semifinals on the road.
Madison came within a game of returning the favor Tuesday night, but the Islanders held out for a 25-21, 25-20, 25-27, 28-30, 15-11 victory in this year’s state semifinals in Poquoson.
“It was a lot of fight,” Madison County volleyball coach Carrie Hardy said. “We went down 2-0, but we weren’t going to go down without a fight. I think we had been pretty much perfect in Game 5 all year, except for tonight, but they played hard. I have a lot of youth on the team, two sophomore starters that stepped into some really big roles this year and this was a big moment for them.”
Logan Mordica had a game-high 14 kills and two aces, while Chloe Dupuis added 13 kills and three aces to lead the Islanders to another trip to the state championship game.
Poquoson (16-7) made the most of its home court advantage in the first two sets, as the players seemed to feed off the energy of the packed gymnasium.
Mordica tallied four kills in Set 1 as the Islanders built a commanding 10-5 lead. Madison County (26-2) regained its composure and trimmed the lead to 20-19 on Lizzie Burbridge’s spike.
The momentum would be short-lived, as Braylen Wise served four points to extend the lead to 24-19. Abi Tanner answered with a spike and two service points before Lauren Hagen hit a cross-court winner to give Poquoson the first set, 25-21.
Madison County regrouped in Set 2 and led 7-3 early before Poquoson began to chip away at the lead.
Davah Headrick tallied three kills and Hagen added a pair of service points to give the Islanders another game-point opportunity. Coach Tom Hatock’s team capitalized on the chance as the Mountaineers hit the ball in the net to give Poquoson a 25-20 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Hardy said she was pleased with the way her team battled back.
“I told them it’s now or never,” Hardy said. “How much fight is left in the dog, so they came out and they did everything that I asked of them, but we came up just a little bit short.”
Sarah Bevins and Maggie Butters sparked the comeback by taking charge of the net for Madison County.
Bevins tallied five kills and Butters added four, including a big spike to give the Mountaineers a game-point opportunity at 26-25.
The Islanders’ spike attempt on the next point sailed long as Madison County took the third set, 27-25, to extend the match.
Hardy’s team looked in firm command in Set 4 as they built an 18-12 lead. Poquoson didn’t back down and went on a 14-5 run to force match point. Lindsay McDaniel would have nothing of it as she tallied three kills on well-placed pushed passes as the Mountaineers fought off four break-point opportunities. Butters then served out the final two points to win the game 30-28 and extend the match to a fifth set.
Poquoson jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the final set before Frances Sukley reeled off a pair of service points and a kill to give Madison County a 6-5 lead.
Still clinging to a one-point lead, Wise scored three straight service points, including a pair of aces, to give Poquoson a 12-7 lead.
The lead grew to 14-9 before Mila Myers scored a pair of points for Madison County to cut the lead to 14-11. That’s where the comeback would end as the next serve sailed into the net to end the match and the Mountaineers’ season.
Butters paced Madison County with 13 kills.
Bevins and Tanner chipped in 10 kills apiece, while Burbridge finished with nine kills. Sukley and McDaniel each tallied 21 digs to lead the MCHS defense.
After back-to-back Region 2B championships, Hardy couldn’t be prouder of what this team has accomplished, especially her seniors.
“They worked hard,” Hardy said. “I was hard on them every day in practice. I’m tough on them and I have high expectations of them in practice and in games and they left a lasting legacy. Back-to-back Region 2B champs, that’s incredible.
“But our work is not done yet.”