WMHS vs Staunton volleyball

PHOTOS BY MICHELLE L. MITCHELL/THE NEWS VIRGINIAN

Paris Hutchinson spikes at Wilson Memorial High School in Fishersville on Thursday. BELOW: Wilson teammates high five after a play.

FISHERSVILLE — Wilson Memorial’s well-oiled volleyball machine notched another sweep into its belt Thursday night after the Green Hornets throttled the Staunton Storm 25-6, 25-17, 25-10 in a Shenandoah District match.

The unbeaten Hornets needed only 49 minutes to secure their ninth sweep in 11 matches, dispatching an overwhelmed Staunton squad that came in riding a three-match winning streak.

Wilson (11-0, 2-0) showed no slippage playing without sophomore starter Ciarra Minor, who is day-to-day after suffering a sprained right ankle in Tuesday’s win over Stuarts Draft. Minor’s departure in the first game against the Cougars disrupted the team’s rotation and flow, but all that appeared to be remedied with a day’s practice.

“We adjusted well to her absence tonight,” Wilson head coach Lauren Grove said. “The day of practice Wednesday helped everyone get use to new roles and positions instead of trying to learn on the fly like they had to Tuesday. Hopefully Ciarra won’t miss a lot of time.”

As has become the norm this season, and especially lately, the Hornets put the hammer down in the first game, which lasted only 12 minutes. In a repeat of Tuesday, Paris Hutchinson started the scoring with a kill, and then stepped to the service line for a 5-0 run and a quick 6-0 lead from which the Storm never recovered. Hutchinson had an ace during the surge, while Carlee Hatfield ripped a kill.

With a 10-4 lead in the first game, Wilson reeled off 10 unanswered points that featured a pair of Cassidy Davis kills.

Staunton (9-5, 1-1) hung with the Hornets early in the second game, but with the scored tied 8-8 after a kill by the Storm’s Nellie Garrison, Wilson seized control with a 6-1 spurt highlighted by kills from Hatfield and Sarah Johnson.

Hutchinson’s ace closed out the second game.

The Storm led for the first time in the match to begin the third game, thanks to three Wilson errors.

Trailing 4-2, the Hornets took the lead for good with a 6-0 run that Hutchinson finished with two kills and an ace.

Hutchinson finished the match with seven kills, 10 assists and five aces. Davis added 11 kills, five digs and three aces, while Olivia Bower recorded 12 assists.

“We just need to keep on doing with we have been doing all season,” Grove said. “We are just focused on the next match in front of us. We can’t start thinking ahead.”

What lies down the road is pair of crucial matches against fellow Class 3 county rival Fort Defiance. Wilson and the Indians are battling it out for the automatic bid from the Shenandoah District to the Region 3C tournament, which will be determined by a power ratings system similar to the one used in football. The first release of the ratings is expected soon.

But before that happens, the Hornets begin a busy three-match week Monday at home against Waynesboro, which wraps up the nondistrict schedule. Wilson hosts Buffalo Gap on Tuesday, and travels Thursday to once-beaten Riverheads for a showdown.

Staunton, which has an odd district schedule, remains on the road Tuesday at the Gladiators. The Storm play their first rotation (five matches) through the district away from the Paul Hatcher gym, with the final five in Staunton.

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