Potomac Falls setter Courtney Gjormand isn't reminded often that she spent a week in the hospital over Christmas with a kidney infection, except when classmates or teammates approach her and ask how she is feeling.
Otherwise, Gjormand said she has completely forgotten her time in the hospital. She certainly did not show any signs of rust in her team's 15-12, 15-8 victory over Loudoun County in a AA Dulles District volleyball match Friday night in Leesburg. Gjormand finished with 12 assists and four aces for the Panthers (8-2, 6-1).
Gjormand, a senior, missed four matches with the infection. Doctors told her it was from an E. coli virus.
"I didn't want to eat or anything," Gjormand said. "When I came back, I could barely hit the ball to the outside, and [Coach Linda Lachey-Helms] would not let me do rollover drills. But I feel fine now. The only time I notice I was sick at all is when people bring it up."
Said Lachey-Helms: "I want the girls to be more aware on the court. I try to shout something to them, but in a loud gym they can't always hear me. In the second game, Courtney set the ball and then I heard her tell a teammate, 'Just get it over.' When we didn't have Courtney, even when we were winning games, we weren't leaving feeling all that happy."
Lachey-Helms also has stopped remembering that Gjormand was sick. She has told Gjormand she is no longer allowed to serve without using a jump-serve. When Gjormand first came back, she was serving flat-footed.
On Friday, the Panthers took an 8-1 lead in the first game after Gjormand served for seven straight points. Loudoun County (5-5, 4-3) closed to 13-12 after a Potomac Falls player hit the ball into the net off a serve from junior Tricia McLister.
But Potomac Falls closed out the game on kills by junior Jacquelynne Balla and sophomore Emily Mims. Senior Allison Gagnon had seven straight service points in the second game, culminating in an ace for an 11-4 lead.
Mims finished with five kills, four blocks and three aces, and sophomore outside hitter Lindsey Facemire added five kills. Sophomore outside hitter Jackie Mathews had three aces and also served for seven straight points for the Raiders.
"Potomac Falls was very aggressive," said Loudoun County Coach Jenica Brown, a former outside hitter at Shepherd College. "They didn't give up on their digs. . . . I felt like we were playing in slow motion. I do feel that when we are playing well; we can play with anyone in the district."
The bad news for Potomac Falls's opponents -- including Loudoun Valley, the two-time defending Virginia AA champion -- is that the Panthers may only be getting better. Junior hitter Katherine Mims may begin practicing next week, according to Lachey-Helms. Mims has not played this season while undergoing radiation treatment after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.