Overcoming a sluggish start, the Wilson Memorial High School volleyball team swept past Waynesboro on Thursday night in nondistrict action, winning 25-19, 25-7 and 25-16.
The win boosted the Green Hornets to 4-0 on the young season.
Coming off an exhausting, five-set win over Western Albemarle the night before, Wilson was understandably slow in getting the match going and Waynesboro was poised to pull out to a lead in the first set.
The Little Giants broke a 6-6 tie on a kill by junior Kylie Norman. Then sophomore Mariela Ruiz ripped off six straight service points to complete a seven-point run, ending on an ace serve.
The Hornets gradually began pecking away at the lead, beginning with a kill by Brooke Cason.
The Little Giants continued to lead, 16-11 on a kill by senior Jada Keene, only to see their once sizeable lead evaporate as Wilson scored eight unanswered points to take command, 21-17.
Waynesboro closed to within 23-21 on one of the best and longest rallies of the night, with both teams swinging hard and digging up numerous fierce shots.
Finally, on set point, Wilson senior Carlee Hatfield found the open floor on a well-placed dink.
The Hornets’ momentum carried over big time in the second set, as Waynesboro couldn’t get anything going as Wilson’s heavy hitters repeatedly put down kills.
For the match, Cassidy Davis and Hatfield each tallied seven kills with Paris Hutchinson swinging for six. Hutchinson also had 14 assists on offense.
Hutchinson also recorded 14 assists for the match, while senior libero Laura-Kate Major dug up 21 Waynesboro hits.
The Little Giants put up a fight in the third set, taking another early lead only to watch Wilson storm back. A pair of aces from Major highlighted an 8-0 run by the Green Hornets, taking them from an 11-9 deficit into a commanding 17-11 advantage.
Wilson senior Carrie Garvey ended the match with a kill on match point.
“Laura-Kate (Major) had a great game tonight,” said WMHS head coach Lauren Grove. “She moved well and read Waynesboro’s attack; and so did Carrie (Garvey).”
With six experienced seniors playing well together, the Hornets can put up a formidable lineup.
“There always a challenge,” said Waynesboro senior libero Paige Smith, who plays with several of the Hornets’ players in the off-season.
Smith was all over the court for the Little Giants, digging up 26 Wilson hits.
“She (Smith) was lights out tonight,” praised WHS head coach Lori Aleshire. “She lives and breathes volleyball.”
Keene led at the net for Waynesboro with seven kills and also had 13 digs. Ciera Bruce assisted on nine Waynesboro points and also had 16 digs on defense. Ruiz was another bright spot for Waynesboro from the service line.
The Little Giants (0-4) have home matches against Fort Defiance and Stuarts Draft on Tuesday and Thursday next week, while Wilson hosts Turner Ashby next Thursday.
“We put up a fight in the first and third sets,” Aleshire said. “We have to learn how to finish.”