By David Wagner
The Western Albemarle varsity volleyball team got off to a slow start, but seems to have turned things around. After disappointing losses in their first two matches and then losing three of the first four, the Warriors have rebounded, winning three of the last four matches.
In the season opener at WAHS August 29 the Warriors dropped three straight sets to Fort Defiance behind the dominating play of outside hitter Meghan Goode. The Indians won 25-22, 25-23 and 25-17. The Warriors then traveled to Waynesboro to face the Little Giants and things didn’t get any easier. Waynesboro played solidly and got help from sloppy play by Western to win 25-21, 25-17 and 25-19. Western committed 16 unforced errors in the match and never got into any kind of rhythm.
The Warriors then answered with their first win of the season over Orange County High School before heading to Albemarle to take on the perennial power and new Jefferson District foe for local bragging rights.
Albemarle’s talent and size proved to be too much for the Warriors, who fell in straight sets (25-16, 25-14, 25-13) for the third time in four matches. Albemarle’s strong hitting, defense and intimidating play at the net seemed to keep the Warriors off balance and out of sync.
The Warriors got their second win against Louisa in straight sets. Playing in a weekend pool-play format tournament at AHS gave the Warriors a chance to play competitive opponents and to work out the kinks. It seemed to have made a difference. The Warriors went 2-2 in the one-day event, playing the best 2 of 3 sets, before heading to meet Monticello. The Warriors made quick work of the Mustangs, winning 25-17, 25-16 and 25-17.
Led by seniors Maggie Spindell, Ali Sandridge, Devon Via and Abi Wagner, the Warriors evened their season record at 3-3. Spindell led the way with eight kills, 13 service points and numerous big plays at the net. Via added six kills, two points and strong net play as well. Abi Wagner led the team in assists with 18, while adding six points and one kill. Outside hitter Ali Sandridge added 7 kills and six points and sophomore Kelsey Grove made a splash with 10 service points and four kills. Junior Christina Blount was exceptional against the Mustangs at libiero with a handful of point-saving digs to go along with tremendous instincts and hustle.
The Warriors have two huge district matches at home in October. On the 8th the Warriors will host archrival Fluvanna at 7 p.m. and on the 15th they will get another crack at the Albemarle Patriots (also 7 p.m).