by David Wagner
The Charlottesville Area Volleyball club’s 18-year-olds team ended their season with a resounding finish. Playing in Williamsburg in the annual Revolutionary Rumble tournament, the team qualified for the Silver Division playoff after three rounds of pool play. Made up of high school seniors from Albemarle County, the team participates in numerous tournaments throughout Central Virginia and beyond.
Four members of the team will be graduating from Western Albemarle, four from Albemarle and one from Monticello. This group of seniors has battled against each other for four years, only to come together and form a cohesive and successful unit on the court. Knowing this would be the last time they would play together, they came ready to play and had fun doing it.
Led by Hannah Lawson (Albemarle High School), Megan Adams (Western Albemarle), Abby Hendrix (Albemarle) and Elizabeth Via (Western Albemarle), the CAV team rolled into the playoff round with a bit of a swagger. In Sunday morning’s play they won both matches in straight sets. In the first match they fell behind in the first set 21 to 14, only to come from behind and win the set 25 to 22. The team cruised through the rest of the day to win the playoff and take home the silver medal.
Albemarle High School senior Stephanie Strauss, not able to make the first day of the tournament, made a huge impact on Sunday. Playing middle blocker, Stephanie made her presence known immediately and played solid all day. She imposed her will at the net with superb blocking and attacks and scored well from the service line also. Playing alongside Katie Weatherhill (Albemarle teammate), the two controlled the middle all afternoon.
The CAV outside hitters were relentless as well. Lawson, Kristin Pack (Western Albemarle) and Brittney Wagner (Western Albemarle) kept the pressure on opponents repeatedly with precision attacks and great defense. Lawson led the way with 78 kills for the weekend in 10 matches. Lawson was on the money and Kristin Pack was right there to back her up. Pack also had a great weekend at the service line with numerous points and momentum-changing runs at the line. Brittney Wagner played steady as well, getting her share of kills and making some great digs along the way on defense.
The CAV hitters and middles were recipients of great setting from the likes of Megan Adams and Abby Hendrix. Adams carried the majority of the load in the absence of Hendrix on both afternoons, but both contributed significantly. Hendrix had to leave Saturday to play lacrosse for Albemarle (in a win versus Covenant) and also on Sunday to return home for a sports banquet in which she received a basketball award. Adams and Hendrix continually fed the CAV hitters with exceptional sets and their teammates delivered. Scoring kill after kill, the CAV team was hard to handle and too much for the competition.
The back row consisting of libiero Elizabeth Via and defensive specialist Erica Watson (Monticello) made statements of their own. Via never give up on defense and Watson’s passing and serving gave the CAV girls consistent opportunities to score. Via controlled the middle of the floor on the defensive side of the net and Watson rotated in off of the bench to serve and had a significant impact.
Libiero and defensive specialist are two of the least recognized positions on the court, but without solid performances from these players a volleyball team is doomed. You have to be able to control the opponents’ serves with good passing and their attacks with consistent digs. Via and Watson delivered in both categories and helped propel the team to a championship.
After all was said and done, the CAV 18s won six straight matches on Sunday and didn’t drop a single set. It was a great afternoon of volleyball and a great way for these young ladies to finish out their club season and careers. In eight sets on Sunday, they outscored their opponents 201 to 110, winning the last set 26 to 24 (teams must win by two points and sets are played to 25) and clinching the Silver Division Championship. Congratulations ladies and good luck next year at college.