By Dan Sousa
Leesburg (Nov. 2, 2010) - Woodgrove High School captured the school's first ever playoff win with a 25-19, 24-26, 25-14, 26-24 win over Park View Monday night in the Dulles District volleyball tournament playin match.
The win put the Wolverines into tonight's quarterfinals at top seed, regular-season champion Loudoun County. A win by the 19-1 Raiders against 3-17 Woodgrove would mean that the winners of the other three quarterfinals would all clinch Region II bids: No. 7 Tuscarora (8-12) at No. 2 Broad Run (13-6); No. 6 Dominion (8-12) at No. 3 Briar Woods (14-6); and No. 5 Potomac Falls (13-9) at No. 4 Freedom (12-8). All matches are at 7 p.m.
In the Cedar Run District, top-seed Heritage (18-2) hosts Battlefield (6-12) at 7 p.m. in the semifinals. A win by the Pride and the winner of the Loudoun Valley (13-7) vs. Stonewall Jackson (13-9) semifinal would clinch a Northwest Region spot.
In the Liberty District, all four teams in the semifinals at Stone Bridge tonight will advance to next week's Northern Region tournament. The Bulldogs host TJ at 5:30 p.m. followed by Langley vs. Fairfax.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 6-1 advantage in the pivotal third game behind the sharp service game of sophomore Catherine Flowers. The Patriots broke her run of serve on junior Allison Balik's kill off a nice backset by junior Kacey Haro but Woodgrove upped the lead to 9-2 on back-to-back kills by sophomores Austin Fust and Erin Shelton.
Junior Taylor Glazebrook dropped in a service winner and contributed a backrow kill as Woodgrove stretched the lead to 14-5.
The Patriots, a team that makes up for its lack of club-level volleyball players with desire and heart, sliced the lead to 17-13 with seniors Almendra Terrones and Alexa McManus putting away kills followed by a service winner from junior Kayla Rymer.
Two Patriot errors stopped the run and Woodgrove scored six straight points to close the match out with Flowers again almost unstoppable from the service line. She had an ace and two more serves that the Pats backrow couldn't dig. The Wolverines took the game, 25-14.
In the fourth game, it was Flowers again serving as the Wolverines went on a 8-0 run to take an early 10-4 lead. During the streak,Glazebrook had two kills from the outside and sophomore Stephanie Purnell was big in the middle with a put away on a stray pass and a block.
The Patriots would not give up and with McManus serving, Park View rattled off eight straight points to take a 12-10 lead. During the run, Rymer put away a variety of kills and senior Amanda Greenwood scored from the outside.
Glazebrook finally stopped the run with a kill. Purnell put Woodgrove up with an ace and service winner but Park View came right back with Terrones and Rymer putting the rook on an attempt in the middle and Terrones tipping the ball into open space for a point.
With Park View up 17-14, Glazebrook again had a key kill to stop the Pats run. Park View got the serve back on a Wolverine error but Fust scored from the middle block position to make it 18-16 Park View. The Pats went up by three, 19-16, on Terrones well-placed shot.
Purnell caught a break when her attack, hit off the top of the net and then nicked the backline. Kaelin Bowman then served an ace to make it 19-19 after a Park View hitting error.
With Bowman still sterving, Woodgrove score two more as Flowers kill made it 21-19 Wolverines.
Park View cut the lead to one, 21-20, with Rymer scoring on a free ball. The Patriots then went up 23-21 as Woodgrove was called for a lift violation followed by a huge block by McManus and then a service winner put in by senior Amanda Ridings.
Woodgrove did not want a fifth game and after a long and exciting rally, Shelton placed a shot for a kill. Flowers was back again to serve and that kept Park View off-balance as Glazebrook and Shelton both scored to bring match point at 24-23.
Park View extended the match as McManus extended her prep career as the senior put in a clutch kill to tie things at 24-24. Woodgrove, however, ended the evening with a nice kill by the towering Purnell and then a blast by Fust that sent the Wolverines into celebration.
"The best comments I get are from all the other coaches when they say how different our team is from game one to game two," said Woodgrove coach Faisal Hallaj when asked to explain how far his young team has come in the first year of the new school's program. "They are starting to believe in themselves."
Hallaj said the Wolverines can compete when they don't beat themselves.
"When we reduce our erros, we can put up a good fight with anybody," said Hallaj.
While there were smiles and hugs on the Woodgrove side of the court, there were tears and hugs on the Park View side as four seniors -- Ridings, McManus, Terrones and Greenwood -- ended their careers. Facing long odds most nights the four girls had provided leadership and led by example each night.
"I'm am very proud of my team," said Park View coach Kathy Koscinski. "They played with courage tonight, they played with intensity, they played with focus, they played as a team."