With his team facing a huge deficit in the third game of Friday's volleyball match with Potomac Falls, Laird Johnson, Loudoun Valley's first-year coach, told his players to start having fun.
That advice became easier to follow when the Vikings began an impressive comeback. Loudoun Valley scored 14 unanswered points in the final game to clinch a 14-16, 15-13, 15-11 victory, handing Potomac Falls its first AA Dulles District loss of the season.
Loudoun Valley's rally was more impressive because of the absence of leading hitter Alana Boyle, who went down with a sprained right ankle in the first game.
Her replacement, sophomore Amanda Kole, started the comeback with four consecutive service points. Blair Brown, a 6-foot-2 freshman middle hitter, recorded several kills during the decisive stretch, finishing with a team-high 16 kills and four solo blocks.
"You have to enjoy the game and play like you enjoy it," Johnson said. "Sure enough, we were able to get a break here and there, and we started putting the ball in Blair's hands a little more."
Boyle is expected to miss at least another week, Johnson said, including a tournament Saturday in Waynesboro. Junior outside hitter Casey Bartok, who will help to compensate for Boyle's absence, had six kills on Friday and served the final two points of the match.
After an 0-2 start, the two-time defending state champion Vikings were 5-1 entering Tuesday's match at Broad Run.
Spartans Girls Excel
The Broad Run girls' swimming team validated its AA Dulles District title aspirations Saturday by upending defending champion Potomac Falls, 149-137, in the Spartans' first dual meet victory over the Panthers since 1999.
"I didn't expect to win the meet," Broad Run Coach Regina Vall said, "but it wasn't a surprise to me how well my girls did."
Sophomore Danielle Mortensen posted the Spartans' only individual victories, in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. But Broad Run's depth provided the victory. The Spartans and Potomac Falls each had four runner-up finishes, but Broad Run dominated third and fourth places.
"All my girls did very well," Vall said. "They did exactly what I expected them to do."
Broad Run's 200 freestyle relay team of junior Chloe McClimas, seniors Kristine Detar and Katie Fitzgerald and freshman Tatiana Grezeszak won and qualified for the state meet.
Potomac Falls was led by junior Becky Horning, last season's All-Extra Performer of the Year, who won the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, and Darcy Mason, who won the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke.
-- Dan Steinberg and Jake Schaller