The Madison County volleyball team’s setback to East Rockingham earlier this season left a sour taste in the players’ mouths and it’s something they don’t want to experience again.
The Mountaineers have used that defeat as constant motivation as they’ve reeled off 11 straight victories, including last Tuesday night’s 25-8, 25-20, 25-14 home win over Page County to remain deadlocked with East Rockingham for the top spot in the Bull Run District standings.
“I think that one loss really opened our eyes with what we needed to work on and how fast we need to make adjustments during game play,” Madison County coach Carrie Hardy said. “Ever since we lost to East Rock, we’ve just come to practice every day, working hard.”
That championship mindset was on display last Tuesday night as the Mountaineers turned in another dominating performance.
Abi Tanner tallied 12 kills and two blocks to lead Madison County (17-1 overall, 11-1 district). Sarah Blevins tallied eight kills, while Mila Myers chipped in eight service points, eight kills and a pair of aces in the win.
The Mountaineers set the tone early in the first set with a 13-2 run to jump out to a commanding 16-5 lead. Five different players had spike during the run, including five from Bevins and four more form Lizzie Burbridge. Margaret Butters added five service points, including an ace to close out the first game, 25-14.
Page County (9-9) regrouped in the second set behind the stellar play of Maddie Gordon and Caris Lucas. The duo combined for seven kills during a 9-3 run to give the Panthers their first lead of the match, 18-16.
That’s when Tanner took over for Madison County.
The senior middle hitter registered five kills, while Myers chipped in four more as the Mountaineers went up 2-0 in the match with a 25-20 win.
Hardy admitted that the second set got away from her team at one point.
“Game 2 was rough,” Hardy said. “We stopped communicating on the floor in Game 2. The communication was great in Games 1 and 3. Abi Tanner really picked it up for us in Game 2 toward the end which was a good sign of leadership.”
Hardy’s team returned to form in the third set, jumping out to a 15-6 lead before finishing off the Panthers with a 25-14 win.
Setter Frances Sukley had a great night at the net, finishing with 40 assists to go along with her 14 service points and four kills. The junior continued to spread the ball around to her hitters and kept the Page County defense guessing.
“We work off of low sets, because it doesn’t allow much time for the defenses to set up,” Hardy said. “That’s kind of our style here at Madison, so all of our setters are used to that.”
Gordon registered six kills to lead Page County. Lucas added five more and Gracie Mason chipped in three more as the Panthers dropped their fourth straight match.
Madison County followed up its win against Page with another against Rappahannock, winning last Thursday 3-0. The girls have one game left in the regular season before gearing up for the Bull Run District Tournament. With their wining streak at 12 straight games, Hardy believes the Mountaineers are just getting started.
“Time flies when you’re having fun,” she said. “The [girls] are working on some new things and we’re ready for another run this year.”