Freedom High School libero Andrea Phung took a deep breath as she stepped back in the service line. With an Oct. 25 home match against Broad Run tied 2-2 and the final set knotted at 14-14, Phung and the Eagles had just two points to score for an upset victory against the top team in the Cedar Run District.
Phung smacks her first serve. The Spartans are unable to return it and the Eagles take the lead 15-14. Phung serves again. Broad Run attempts to return, but slams the ball into the net instead and the Eagles finish their final regular-season match with a five-set victory.
“We had everything to gain,” Freedom coach Ken Kramer. “The heart came out.”
Despite Freedom’s win, Broad Run wrapped up the regular-season district title Oct. 23 with a victory against Battlefield.
Broad Run’s loss to Freedom is its only district blemish of the season. The Spartans swept the Eagles in the first meeting Oct. 11.
“It feels good to win a district title,” Broad Run coach Ellen Roberts said. “The girls wanted to go undefeated for the season. But I expected more from Freedom this time around and that’s exactly what we got.”
The first set previewed what would prove to be an intense match between the two Loudoun schools. With Broad Run up 21-19, Freedom rallied to tie the score up 22-22 and then take over the lead to win 25-23.
But the Spartans refused to roll over quickly. The second set was contentious, with both teams trading the lead before Broad Run was able to close the set out 25-33.
Broad Run began set three with a 7-0 run and continued its dominance throughout the set, leading by as many as nine points. The Spartans never relinquished their lead, and ultimately won the third set 25-14.
The Eagles never lost confidence, though.
“The belief in themselves lets them to get back,” Freedom coach Kramer said. “It’s harder to do it that way. But they have the resolve, they’ve done it and you saw it here tonight.
The Eagles recovered and the game remained tight. Broad Run maintained a narrow lead up until the 21st point. After scoring three consecutive points, Kaylynn Mayo hit the winning block to give the Eagles set four 25-21.
“I wasn’t even thinking I could get the block but it felt good we could end on it,” Mayo said.
The fifth set would prove to be tight once again, but defensive pressure above the net and smart serving would earn the Eagles their pivotal at-home win.
Kramer credits his blocking force with earning the win. “Haley [Kramer] and Kaylynn really stepped it up,” Kramer said. “I knew that if we were going to do anything today we had to control the net.”
Kramer led the Eagles in blocking with six and Mayo added five. Both girls also combined for 17 kills, while Jennison added six kills of her own. Phung tallied 26 digs and Kirkpatrick earned 26 assists, 14 service points and three aces.
For the Spartans, Taylor Austin led in digs with a whopping 48 and added two aces to her stats. Taylor Compher dished 38 assists and Amanda Swanson boasted a team-high 16 kills.
Broad Run and Freedom each gained first-round byes in this week’s Cedar Run District tournament. Both teams will host semifinal matches.
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