Today's Prince William Extra, which was printed in advance, reported that Forest Park defeated Stonewall on Tuesday in the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region girls' high school volleyball quarterfinals. Forest Park announced yesterday that it has forfeited the victory because of an ineligible player. (Published 11/11/04)
It was a furious rally that would have been memorable even without the game -- and in Stonewall Jackson's case, the match -- in the balance. Sinking balls inches from hitting the floor were salvaged and returned and smashes that appeared too hot to handle were somehow dispatched back over the net.
That's how Forest Park capped its 25-16, 25-19, 20-25, 26-24 home win over Stonewall on Tuesday in the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region volleyball quarterfinals. The frenzied sequence finally ended when Forest Park junior Sasha Bondje planted a crosscourt kill that not even the pesky Raiders could return.
"It was hectic," Bondje said, trying to recall the drama. "It was so blurry."
Blurry or not, the kill helped further clear up the region playoff picture. Forest Park advances to play at E.C. Glass, a 3-1 quarterfinal winner over Albemarle, in Lynchburg at 6:30 p.m. today. The winner will advance to the region championship and earn an automatic state berth.
Osbourn Park will play at Colonial Forge tonight in the other semifinal. The Forest Park-E.C. Glass winner will host the region championship Saturday.
Defending state champion Forest Park (17-5) won the first two games Tuesday with minimal trouble, taking a 10-2 lead in the first and trailing only briefly early on in the second. But as they have done all season, the Bruins had trouble closing out an opponent, and Stonewall (16-6), on a seven-match winning streak, scored five of the last six points in the third game, two courtesy of senior Monique Barbour.
"Offensively, we passed the ball great the first two games, and they're still in the game," Forest Park Coach Dan Jones said. "Sasha is just hammering everything, unstoppable, and they picked their defense up and started digging some of that in the latter part of the match. . . . That's the way a volleyball match is supposed to look -- just hammering it back and forth and seeing who wants it the most and can execute when they need to."
"It's frustrating," Bondje said of her apparent kills coming back over the net. "I'm like, oh, can I ever put this down? You just have to have patience. . . . I tried to just focus on that hit and not think about what's going to happen if it doesn't go straight down."
The Raiders would have stood a much better chance of forcing a fifth game if not for three consecutive service errors late in the fourth. Even so, senior Sarah Gouch and Barbour scored to tie the game at 24, but the 5-foot-10 Bondje deposited two of her team-high 15 kills to end the match, including a definitive wallop to end the flurry.
"The last one was a great rally," said Stonewall Coach Jessica Hruska, whose team was swept by Forest Park in two regular season matches this year. "You love to see that when you have great blockers and teams that really know where they're supposed to be on coverage. . . . It says a lot about both teams when you can have rallies like that, so I'm happy with that."
Senior Sarah Floyd had 11 kills for the Bruins, junior Alix Grimm had seven, sophomore Katie Goss five and senior Keshia Gibbs and junior Amy Trykowski four each. The loss marked the final high school match for 10 Stonewall players who helped the team upset Osbourn Park in the Cedar Run District championship and earn the program's first district title since 1981.
Sophomore defensive specialist Holly Speaks is the only non-senior on the Stonewall team. The Raiders entered regionals as the second seed because the Cedar Run regular season champion earns the top regional berth.
"We fought hard, they just have a really tall, well put together front row," Hruska said. "They really, really do. I think if our service game had been a little more on, we would have . . . at least pushed it to five."