Ninth-ranked Gar-Field proved too deep, and Fauquier dug itself too many holes as the Indians defeated the visiting Falcons last night in a Northwestern Region volleyball quarterfinal, 14-16, 15-8, 15-8, 15-10.
Gar-Field (18-5) will host the winner of last night's Osbourn Park-Sherando match in a regional semifinal Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Fauquier, which took a 20-0 record into Saturday's Commonwealth District final, ends the season with two straight losses.
It may have been a different story if Fauquier had played the beginning of each game like it played the end. The Falcons fell behind by a score of at least 6-0 to start each game, only to rally in all four. But the Falcons were able to pull out a win only in the first game.
That first game a was a thriller, though. It appeared the powerful hitting combination of senior Katie Ratchford (12 kills) and 6-foot-1 junior middle hitter Julia Jackson (21 kills, three blocks) would overwhelm the Falcons as Gar-Field jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
With Gar-Field ahead 14-7, Fauquier finally appeared to relax and gain confidence. Led by three blocks from junior middle hitter Katie Gaudrault, Fauquier rallied to tie the score at 14. Junior outside hitter Laura Knight's spike gave the Falcons a 15-14 lead, and Gaudrault ended the game with an ace. "I was surprised they were able to block as well as they did," Gar-Field Coach Sue Shelton said. "Defensively, they did a real good job hustling. That caught us off guard. They did a good job hitting, and that caught us off guard, too."
In the second game, Fauquier narrowed a 7-0 lead to 9-6 but got no closer. In the third game, a 6-0 Gar-Field advantage was cut to 11-8 before the Indians pulled away. And in the final game, Fauquier cut Gar-Field's 6-0 lead to 9-7 before the Indians went on one final run to end the match.
A Gar-Field-Osbourn Park match would be the fourth time the teams have met this season. The Indians won the first three matches, but that is of little comfort to Shelton.
"We have played them three times and know what to expect of them," Shelton said. "But playing a team four times and beating a team four times is a little harder."
Note: Emmanuel Christian fell to Paul VI, 15-0, 15-2, 15-7, in the first round of the Virginia Independent Schools tournament.