Volleyball Roundup: Warhill Hands Grafton First Loss of 2015

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Cori Clifton
Cofi Clifton prepares to serve the ball. (Ty Hodges/WYDaily)

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After a slow 2-3 start to the season, Warhill played its best game of the 2015 season Thursday evening at home against previously undefeated Grafton.

The Lions, led by strong serving and passing, swept Grafton 25-16, 25-23, 26-24 and handed the Clippers their first loss of the season.

Warhill opened the first set looking like a team on a mission.

Led by the serving of Cori Clifton, who finished the match with 15 assists, six kills, digs and four aces, the Lions jumped out to a quick 9-0 run.

"We served the ball in the court," joked Warhill Head Coach Greg Koon after the game. "One thing we've worked on is serving under pressure. When they can accomplish serving under pressure they come out in the beginning of the set and there's no pressure on them."

While Grafton was able to start winning points, Warhill had built too big of a lead for the Clippers to completely close the distance. The Lions easily cruised to a 25-16 win in the opening set.

The following two sets didn't come as easily.

Warhill's solid serving disappeared, as the Lions began committing unforced errors that allowed Grafton to get back into the match.

Grafton and Warhill traded blows throughout the second set with neither team holding more than a three point advantage on the other.

Late in the second set, it appeared Grafton was poised to push the match to 1-1 with the Clippers holding a 23-22 advantage. The Lions rallied to win the final three points of the set, snagging a 2-0 lead in the match.

Despite losing the second set, the Clippers carried the momentum built by their solid play into the third set. Grafton built an early 7-4 lead and did not relinquish the lead until Warhill took over at 16-15.

With Warhill leading the final set 23-18, a ball that landed in play was ruled out by the head official and the Lions were stopped from reaching match point.

The missed call led to some extra drama as the Clippers proceeded to win the next five points to earn set point and a 24-23 lead.

A timeout by Koon called down the Warhill players and the Lions regrouped to win three consecutive points and close out the match.

The win snaps Warhill's two-match losing streak and pushes the Lions to 3-3 on the year. Warhill will continue its season on the road against Bruton on Sept. 29.

Grafton will look to get back to its winning ways when the Clippers (5-1) travel to Western Albemarle for a tournament Saturday.

Warhill def. Grafton 25-16, 25-23, 26-24

Warhill: Cori Clifton (15 assists, 6 kills, 6 digs, 4 aces), Nicole Mulligan (12 digs, 10 kills, 2 blocks), Chloe Wilmoth (15 assists, 9 kills, 9 digs)

Grafton: Sam Heard (10 digs, 7 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces), Haley Sutton (4 digs, 2 aces)


Jamestown Sweeps Bruton With Ease

Jamestown's volleyball team is off to a blazing start in 2015 with the Eagles holding the top ranking in Group 4A in Virginia, according to MaxPreps.

The Eagles continued their hot start by defeating Bruton at home in straight sets Thursday 25-15, 25-18, 25-12.

So far this season, the Eagles have not been taken to a fourth set in any Bay Rivers District match.

Jamestown got well-rounded performances from two of its key players: Ellie Popelka and Maria Esch. Popelka finished the game with 10 kills, three digs and a block, while Esch had nine kills, eight digs, two aces and two blocks.

Fueled by strong play from their roster top-to-bottom, the Eagles cruised through all three sets with the closet set being decided by seven points.

For Bruton, Gabby Calloway and Aaliyah Bartlett stood out during the loss. Calloway paced the Panthers with 15 digs and nine kills, and Bartlett added 12 assists.

The Eagles (9-1) will look to stretch its win streak to four matches when they travel to take on Smithfield Tuesday. Meanwhile, Bruton (1-5) is looking to get back to its winning ways when the Panthers travel to Maggie Walker on Saturday.

Jamestown def. Bruton 25-15, 25-18, 25-12

Bruton: Gabby Calloway (15 digs, 9 kills), Mykael Johnson (6 kills, 3 digs), Aaliyah Bartlett (12 assists)

Jamestown: Ellie Popelka (10 kills, 3 digs, 1 block), Maria Esch (9 kills, 8 digs, 2 aces, 2 blocks), Maggie Viniard (13 assists, 6 aces, 5 digs, 1 kill)


Poquoson Tops Lafayette

Lafayette's volleyball team lost a tough three-set match at home to Poquoson on Thursday evening.

The Islanders took down the Rams by a final of 25-18, 26-24, 25-23.

After losing the first set by seven points, the Rams battled hard to keep the next two sets close.

Led by Abby Oren, who finished the match with 19 kills and 15 digs, Lafayette was able to keep within two points of Poquoson in the second and third sets, but was unable to extend the match with a set win.

Lafayette (4-3) will look to snap a two-match losing skid on the road against Tabb on Tuesday.

Poquoson def. Lafayette 25-18, 26-24, 25-23

Poquoson: Toni-Anne Whitlow (21 kills, 10 digs), Megan Saetre (37 assists, 7 digs, 4 kills), Madison Mordica (15 digs, 3 aces)

Lafayette: Abby Oren (19 kills, 15 digs), Kelly Carroll (10 kills, 8 digs, 6 aces), Abby Goetsch (27 assists)


HRA Sweeps Walsingham

The Hampton Roads Academy volleyball team swept Walsingham Academy at home 25-14, 25-8, 25-8 on Thursday.

HRA, which was led by Megan Lee with 16 kills and six digs, had no trouble getting past the Trojans in the win.

The Navigators (3-6) will hit the road Friday to play in the North Cross Invitational in Roanoke.

Walsingham (2-5) will try to snap a two-match losing streak at home against Christchurch on Tuesday.

HRA def. Walsingham Academy 25-14, 25-8, 25-12

HRA: Megan Leavey (8 digs, 7 kills), Megan Lee (16 kills, 6 digs), Kendall Schroder (8 digs), Rhett Deverich (20 assists)