A week removed from an emotional five-set victory over rival Western Albemarle, Albemarle volleyball coach Mark Ragland admits its hard to bring that same intensity every match.
The Patriots found that out the hard way Tuesday night as they shook off a slow start to post a 25-17, 25-14, 25-13 victory over visiting Louisa County.
Adalee Lynch tallied 10 kills, six service points and a block as Albemarle (14-4, 6-0 Jefferson District) extended its district win streak to 35 matches.
Louisa County (3-9, 2-4) didn’t back down from the defending district champs early on, matching the Patriots point-for-point for most of the first set. Emily McGhee had three service points and a pair of kills as the Lions trailed 14-12 midway through the first set. Annabelle Townsend and Emma Figler registered two kills apiece to spark the run.
That’s when Albemarle found its groove.
Setter Olivia Turner keyed an 8-2 run with three service points, including three aces, to seize command of the set for the Patriots. She also tallied three kills, including a big tip on set-point to close out the first set.
“The first set, we were a little sloppy,” Ragland said. “We weren’t really in any kind of groove and we just talked about let’s just get in a rhythm. One great pass, another pass shanked, it’s hard to play volleyball when you’re inconsistent. But we started to get a little rhythm going. I thought the hitters and setters kind of got on the same page, and that helped too, along with our passing.”
The momentum carried over into the second set as Ragland’s team went to work and never looked back. The Patriots dominated at the net and the service line. Six players registered a kills in the second set, including seven from Lynch. Maya Winterhoff chipped in two kills and a block to go along with her seven service points.
Albemarle posted five aces in the set, including three from Keira Roach, as Louisa County struggled in serve receive with the Patriots’ jump-serve.
The third set was more of the same for the Ragland’s team, but there were new faces assuming the starring role. Lainey Haas and Apria Herndon-Scott each tallied a pair of kills at the net.
“I feel like that’s a big part why, year in and year out, we’ve had kids come in and contribute right away,” Ragland said. “They’re able to get a little experience the year before when maybe they aren’t starting, but at least the get a little [playing time] and let the get used to the crowd and a game environment.”
At the service line, Roach served the first seven straight points of the set to put the game away early. Winterhoff added three kills, including a thunderous slam through the heart of the Lions’ defense on match point to seal the win.
Winterhoff finished with nine points, seven kills, two blocks and a pair of aces to anchor a balanced attack for Albemarle. Roach tallied 12 points and four aces. Turner contributed four points, three points, four kills and two aces, while Townsend chipped in four kills in the win.
McGhee had six points, three aces and pair of kills to lead Louisa County. Kylie Robinson and Olivia Grubbs each led the team with three kills.