When the two rivals hit the court for the first of two regular-season matches on Thursday night at Osbourn Park, the result should once again go a long way toward deciding the 2012 regular season champion.
Volleyball: Forest Park, Osbourn Park renew rivalry
Both the Yellow Jackets (9-2) and Bruins (6-3) are coming off four challenging tests at the Loudoun Valley Invitational on Sept. 15. The two teams entered the tournament unbeaten and left with a combined 3-5 record in a field that included No. 2 Stone Bridge, No. 7 Flint Hill and 2011 Northwest Region champion Freedom-South Riding.
“Those matches kind of let us see where we are with the really strong teams in the area. We played well, even in our losses,” Bruins Coach Anna Davila said. “I think it was a little bit of a reality check that let us see where we measure up.”
The Bruins bring a balanced attack into Thursday’s clash in Manassas, led by senior Zoel Stackhouse, who may be the area’s most atypical middle blocker.
At 5-foot-4, Stackhouse looks better suited for the back row, but her 30-inch vertical has made her one of the district’s most explosive players. She leads the Bruins with 55 kills and 21 blocks.
“She may be 5-4, but she plays like she’s 6-2,” Davila said. “We don’t look very big in our huddle, and we meet these other teams with huge girls. But when Zoel gets the right ball, she’s going to put it down, and everybody feeds off her energy.”
Junior Katie Perrin (42 kills) and senior Felicia Huerta (26), who missed all of last season due to injury, provide options in Forest Park’s 6-1 attack, and senior hitter Katelyn Scherber is slated to return from a mild concussion this week.
Like the Bruins, Osbourn Park, which joined the Cardinal District in the 2009 season, is unbeaten in district play and lost only four players from last year’s roster.
Six-foot right-side hitter Brittany Testerman (86 kills) and 5-11 sophomore middle Megan Onyundo (67) pace what Coach Michele Blue calls a “small but tenacious” attack that runs through senior setter Courtney Krebs.
Over the last three seasons, the Yellow Jackets hold a 7-3 advantage in head-to-head matchups, but the two split last season with both contests going to five sets.
“I think what’s nice about playing them is you never really know what’s going to happen,” Blue said. “For some reason in this game, everybody rises up and inevitably it goes to five sets and we’re playing until 11. So I told my girls to get some sleep and be ready.” ....
A pair of heavy-hitters in Northern Virginia notched their 1,000th career kills last week. Stone Bridge All-Met senior Ryan Ackermann recorded hers in a sweep of South Lakes on Tuesday, and O’Connell senior Claire Crutchfield surpassed the mark the following night against Paul VI Catholic....
Loudoun County junior outside hitter Maggie Phillips verbally committed to the U.S. Naval Academy. A three-year contributor and member of the 2010 AA championship team, Phillips is a key part of the Raiders’ potent front line and currently ranks second on the team in kills with 72.