After their 3-2 home win Tuesday night over Northern Region volleyball contender Westfield, Stonewall Jackson seniors Heather Page and Katie Speaks were asked separately about the significance of knocking off such a team.
Without hearing what the other had said, each offered the same response.
"It's just preparing us more for OP," Page said, referring to a home match Monday against Cedar Run District rival Osbourn Park.
"I think it's a good test, especially since we have OP coming up," Speaks said a few minutes later.
Indeed, the Raiders have higher goals than edging Westfield, 25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-12, chief among them snaring the district title away from the Yellow Jackets, who lost twice to Stonewall last regular season but rallied to win the Cedar Run banner.
Stonewall (4-1) is still finding its way. Page missed time with a fractured wrist from a skateboarding accident. Junior Edith Hutt has been nagged by a back injury and illness.
Page and senior Jessie Green were not on the floor when defending Virginia AAA champion Forest Park swept the Raiders to open the season.
"We're still trying to get in our groove," Stonewall Coach Jessica Hruska said. "I know that last year we had gotten in our groove earlier than this, but I think that by the end of the season we're going to be right up there and hopefully playing with a little more smoothness. I think in the next couple games we'll be all flowing together."
Despite ragged play at times, there were moments of that in the win over Westfield (3-3). Senior Monique Barbour had 11 kills and six blocks. Page had 12 kills.
Senior Kirby Jenkins served 20 balls. Speaks had 28 assists. Senior Kendra Sloan had five blocks, and sophomore Holly Speaks four aces.
Points by Sloan and senior Sarah Gouch, a Jenkins ace and a Barbour block broke a 9-all tie in the fifth game and gave the Raiders the lead for good.
"It's been kind of tough having a different lineup almost every game," said the elder Speaks, one of nine seniors on an 11-member team.
"I think we're going to be a lot better when we have everyone together all the time and we get used to playing next to each other."