Volleyball Roundup: Jamestown Clinches Spot in State Tournament

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Maria Esch
Maria Esch takes to the air to play the ball. (Ty Hodges/WYDaily)

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The Jamestown volleyball team will be heading to the state tournament for the fifth time in as many years.

Jamestown clinched its spot in the Group 4A tournament Tuesday night after blowing by Powhatan 25-14, 25-14, 25-19 in the semifinal round of the Group 4A East tournament.

"It feels great and it's really exciting," said Jamestown Coach Tom Stephenson of guaranteeing a spot in the state tournament again.

Despite facing off against one of the eight remaining teams in Group 4A, the Eagles made quick work of the Indians during a match that was seldom competitive.

The Eagles opened the first set on a 7-1 run, which forced Powhatan to burn an early timeout. Powhatan's attempt to stall Jamestown's momentum was futile as the Eagles proceeded to win 13 of the next 22 points to build a 20-10 lead.

A 3-0 run by Powhatan was quickly shut down by Jamestown, and the Eagles won five of the final six points to take the first set 25-14.

The second set was nearly identical to the first set as Jamestown once again opened the set with a 7-1 run. And, similar to the first set, Jamestown also held a 20-10 advantage at one point before taking the set 25-14.

"That was probably one of our cleanest played matches of the year against a really good team," Stephenson said after the match. "Every one of them on the court executed and did their jobs well."

The final set was more competitive, but still ultimately a comfortable win for Jamestown.

Powhatan opened the set with a 1-0 advantage – its only lead of the match. The lead was short-lived as Jamestown responded with a 3-0 run en route to building a 7-2 lead.

In what was a stark contrast from the first two sets, Powhatan mustered a response in the third set and pulled within two points of Jamestown with the set sitting at 11-9 in favor of the Eagles.

Powhatan kept the set close down the stretch, staying within two points of Jamestown with the score 21-19. Jamestown buckled down and reeled off four consecutive points to close out the match and earn a spot in the Group 4A state tournament.

Before looking too far ahead to the state tournament, Jamestown will still look to capture the Group 4A East championship, which will be played at Jamestown High School on Thursday, after losing last season to Grafton in five sets.

"We know how important Thursday is," Stephenson said. "It's not just another game and we can't just be satisfied with going to states. We need to go out and play like we did against Grafton last Thursday or like we did against Powhatan."

Jamestown (23-3) will host Hanover Thursday during the Group 4A East championship match.

Jamestown def. Powhatan 25-14, 25-14, 25-19

Jamestown: Ellie Popelka (8 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks, 1 ace), Emma Schriner (10 kills, 2 blocks), Gen Allison (18 digs), Maggie Viniard (48 assists, 11 digs)


Hanover Ends Grafton's Season in Five Sets

Grafton's volleyball season came to an agonizing end Tuesday evening as the Clippers fell in five sets 22-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 15-13 on the road at Hanover in the Group 4A East semifinal round.

The loss ends Grafton's season one win shy of clinching a spot in the Group 4A state tournament.

While the result was disappointing for Grafton, the match itself lived up to expectations as Grafton and Hanover traded sets throughout the evening.

Grafton's efforts were more impressive given starting middle blocker Brooke Parker was ruled ineligible to play in the match earlier in the day due to illness.

Missing a key player, Grafton still managed to take the first set 25-22 before dropping the second set 20-25. The Clippers rebounded with a 26-24 win in the second set and, given the nature of the match, Hanover responded by winning the fourth set 25-19.

Grafton found itself in a 12-5 hole during the decisive fifth set, which prompted Grafton Coach Karissa Cumberbatch to call a timeout.

During the timeout, Cumberbatch told her girls not to give up and continue to fight. The Clippers responded, battling back to tie the fifth set at 12-12.

Unfortunately for the Clippers (19-8), Hanover won three consecutive points to close out the match and end Grafton's season.

Despite Grafton's season coming to a close, Cumberbatch said she was excited about the future of Grafton's volleyball program.

"I'm definitely going to miss the three [seniors] that are leaving," she said. "It's hard to say goodbye, but they set a great example for the kids coming up behind them. ... I'm excited for the future, but sad to see these kids go."

Hanover def. Grafton 22-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 15-13

Grafton: Sam Heard (17 kills, 10 digs, 4 blocks, 2 aces), Rachel Blitt (16 kills, 7 digs, 4 blocks), Sophia Beaudoin (15 digs, 12 kills, 2 blocks), Kaitlyn Young (50 assists, 15 digs, 3 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace)


WCA Reaches State Quarterfinals

Williamsburg Christian Academy knocked off Grace Christian at home 25-16, 25-19, 25-21 during Tuesday's first round of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament.

Led by Patricia Davie's 15 kills and five blocks, WCA is advancing to the VISAA quarterfinal round – the furthest the Eagles have ever made it in the postseason.

WCA (16-7) will now travel to play No. 2 seed Stonebridge School in the VISAA quarterfinal on Wednesday.

WCA def. Grace Christian 25-16, 25-19, 25-21

WCA: Patricia Davie (15 kills, 5 blocks), Anah Taylor (14 kills, 7 aces), Nicole Musfelt (28 assists, 4 aces)