As disappointed as they were after losing to Douglas Freeman on Tuesday night in the Virginia AAA quarterfinals, the Osbourn Park volleyball players were able to quickly dwell on what they had accomplished this season and not what they did not accomplish.
"Everybody takes a loss like, 'Oh my gosh, this is the end of the world,' " senior defensive specialist Christie Kirby said. "But we got a banner. There are people that walked away with nothing, and we are really proud of [the banner]. . . . We had an awesome season. At least we walked away with something."
"Satisfied, but not fully satisfied," is the way senior middle hitter Adora Luster put it.
Indeed, the Yellow Jackets picked up the first region title in program history by beating Stonewall Jackson, the team they had lost to in the Cedar Run District championship. But their challenge for a state banner fell short in a 25-13, 20-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-13 home loss to Freeman, a team that had swept them Oct. 16. It marked the Yellow Jackets' lone home setback of the season.
The Rebels (21-5) trailed 17-11 in the third game before rallying for the win. Osbourn Park (21-5) trailed 17-10 in the fourth but won. Freeman took a 10-5 lead in the decisive game and held on even though the Yellow Jackets pulled to within one at 11-10, 13-12 and 14-13.
"Five games and two points -- you can't ask for anything closer than that," said Osbourn Park Coach Kate Southcott, who credits the year-round Clash club volleyball program for much of her team's success. "Some of them, 111/2 months of the year they're playing the sport with all their whole bodies, not just in their minds."
The Yellow Jackets will lose five regulars -- Kirby, Luster, setter Kristen Wolf, outside hitter Kaitlin Crutchley and defensive specialist Tiffany Myers -- and reserve outside hitter Angela Dellinger.
The performance of Wolf (32 assists) is the reason that Freeman Coach Joe Sullivan cited for Osbourn Park playing a tougher match than they had given the Rebels a month before.
Crutchley led Osbourn Park (21-5) with 16 kills, and junior Ashley Ferry had 11 kills and 27 digs. Freshman Helen Theisen served six aces. Junior Catherine Hanners led Freeman (21-5) with 19 kills and 27 digs.
"It's great for the seniors to leave that kind of a legacy here," Wolf said. "We kind of set the next tier for the girls below us: Next time, go for that state banner, because we haven't had one of those."