Loudoun County High School served up another postseason sweep Tuesday night in the Virginia AA volleyball quarterfinals. The host Raiders recorded 18 aces in a 25-12, 25-16, 25-15 victory over Chancellor, winning in straight sets for a ninth consecutive match.
“We’ve been working at practice with our serving a lot more with more reps every single day,” Loudoun County coach Jenica Matthias said. “The kids, as a whole, have all improved their serves.”
Senior setter Jordan Leiter led the Raiders with eight aces Tuesday, including an impressive early run of serves that helped Loudoun County build a 9-1 lead in the first set. Senior Jenna Strange and sophomore Maggie Phillips both served up four aces, while senior Katrina Kirby and sophomore Kelsey Slack each added an ace.
“Coach has us doing a lot of serving when you are dead tired,” Leiter said. “When you are falling on the ground and trying to get some air, and you can still serve it in hard, I guess that’s what keeps you consistent.”
The Raiders (27-1) advance to Friday’s state semifinals where they will face a familiar opponent in Cave Spring (27-3). Loudoun County has defeated Cave Spring - a 25-12, 25-5, 25-21 winner over E.C. Glass in Tuesday’s quarterfinals - in each of the last two state semifinals. The Raiders also won a five-set match against the Knights earlier this season on Oct. 1.
Loudoun County spread out its powerful attack against Chancellor as five Raiders slammed five or more kills. Strange led the way with 10 kills, followed by junior Taylor Huewe (eight), Phillips (seven), Kirby (six) and junior Megan Fox (five). Leiter set up the hitters with 32 assists, while senior Gabby Serafin and sophomores Kelsey Slack and Kelsey Anderson combined for 25 digs.
“We knew to expect two strong outsides and a strong, smart center,” Matthias said of Chancellor. “So we needed to be able to defend against them with our block and our diggers and then move our ball around so they had a harder time to dig us. Chancellor worked very, very hard busting their behind chasing down lots of balls. But I think we were able to capitalize on the offensive attack.”
The state quarterfinal win was the last time five Raider seniors - Danielle Cullen, Serafin, Leiter, Strange and Kirby - will play on their home court.
“It kind of didn’t occur to me,” Leiter said of playing her final home match. “Until Maggie said ‘set me right now, I’ll wreck it for you. This is the last time you are playing here.’ I said ‘alright, you better crush it.’”
Loudoun County - two victories away from earning a fifth consecutive Virginia AA championship - will play Cave Spring in the semifinals Friday, 6:30 p.m. at the Siegel Center in Richmond. Hidden Valley (23-6) and Jamestown (26-4) will square off in the other semifinal. The AA state final is set for Saturday at 5 p.m.