Yost leads W.T. Woodson past Madison in volleyball


W.T. Woodson swept Madison in a nondistrict match on Tuesday. (Matt Brooks/For The Washington Post)
September 19, 2012

Jenna Yost hurled her body forward and flattened her outstretched right hand against the floor as a sure kill from a Madison hitter zipped down to the court.

Someway, somehow, W.T. Woodson’s junior libero beat the ball to the spot, popping it upward with the back of her hand and keeping the point alive.

The dig stunned the Warhawks, who were cruising in the second set of Tuesday’s Virginia AAA Northern Region clash, and it surprised Yost most of all.

But W.T. Woodson won the point, and with two more spectacular digs from Yost on the ensuing point, the Cavaliers stormed back to take the set and the match, 25-22, 25-17, 25-20.

“Jenna was all over the floor tonight,” Woodson senior setter Caitlynn King said. “She’s playing her heart out and I think it pumps the entire team up and gives everyone a lift.”

Woodson Coach Len Palaschak rotated between Yost, a first-year varsity player, and sophomore incumbent Mackenzie Reed at libero through the team’s first 10 matches with good results. But with two games remaining before the Cavaliers (9-2) open Patriot District play, he gave Yost her first full night on the job and moved the versatile Reed to the outside.

If Yost’s debut is any indicator, the Cavaliers may never go back.

A 5-foot-5 soccer player who picked up volleyball her freshman year, Yost looked poised and at times possessed anchoring the back line. She recorded 19 digs in all — none more important than the second-set pancake — and on the next point she absorbed a blast off the chin from Madison hitter Amy O’Connor and then lunged for another dig seconds later to help take the point. From there, Yost served an ace and won four straight service points during a pivotal 18-4 Woodson run that appeared to deflate the host Warhawks.

“I was feeling such a high at that point,” Yost said. “I’ve been practicing that [pancake] a lot, and it’s one of the skills that you have to have if you want to play at a higher level. Since I don’t have a lot of experience, I was so happy I was able to do it in a game situation and really help my team out there.”

The rest of the Cavaliers fed off Yost’s energy as they put together one of their most complete performances of the young season. Senior Maggie Price led the offense with 11 kills and King had 10 kills and 13 assists as she shifted seamlessly between her roles as setter and outside hitter. Senior middle blocker Hannah Dallman added eight kills and a solo block and Reed, freed up to remain on the court through all six rotations, chipped in 14 digs and four kills of her own.

“When everyone is in sync, it looks really good,” King said.

Led by sophomore outside hitter Marissa Roy and an all-around effort from senior setter Marissa Perez, the Warhawks (10-4) hung close in the first set and led 11-4 in the second before Woodson mounted its charge. Madison has now lost three of five after an 8-1 start.

Woodson, which advanced to its first state quarterfinal last season, extended its win streak to six with the victory.

“We brought a lot of intensity that I don’t even think that we knew we were capable of, and we just showed up really when we needed to tonight,” Yost said. “We just need to stay focused.”

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