For Ashley Ferry and the Osbourn Park volleyball team, Thursday's Cedar Run District championship victory against Fauquier was all about redemption.
Not redemption against Fauquier, which the No. 5 Yellow Jackets had already beaten twice during the regular season, but more for themselves after last year's district tournament championship loss to crosstown rival Stonewall Jackson.
"We worked so hard to get to this point," said Ferry, a tri-captain. "Last year it was so disappointing falling to Stonewall, but to win the way we've won this year is definitely a big plus."
After starting the season 2-3, Osbourn Park has dominated its competition. With Thursday's 25-12, 25-19, 25-17 win against Fauquier, the Yellow Jackets (19-3) extended their winning streak to 17 matches -- a stretch in which they've lost only one game.
Osbourn Park hosts Commonwealth District runner-up Brooke Point at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a Northwestern Region quarterfinal game. Fauquier (20-3) plays at Commonwealth champion Colonial Forge.
Despite entering Thursday's match as the state's top-ranked team, according to a Virginia coaches' poll, memories of last year kept Osbourn Park from taking victory for granted.
"We wanted to make sure we were ready this time," Ferry said. "We were out here an hour before the game scrimmaging six-on-six against each other, just to make sure we were totally warmed up."
The plan worked, as Osbourn Park jumped out to leads of 12-3 in the first game and 9-2 in the second game. In fact, it never trailed until Fauquier went up 3-2 in the third game, but Osbourn Park eventually regained control and scored 12 of the final 16 points.
"We wanted that championship banner back after Stonewall took it from us last year," Yellow Jackets Coach Kate Southcott said. "That's definitely been one of our goals since August, was to win the district."
Another goal is a second straight appearance in the Virginia AAA tournament, but Osbourn Park might have to get through Forest Park (20-2) to achieve that. The Bruins, who captured the Cardinal District title with a 25-15, 25-14, 25-12 victory over Woodbridge on Thursday, were the last team to beat the Yellow Jackets, on Sept. 6. If both win Tuesday, Osbourn Park and Forest Park would meet in Thursday's region semifinals, meaning only one would advance to states.
Southcott, however, didn't seem worried about that on Thursday night.
"If we continue to play like we've been playing, we have a good chance to beat anybody," she said. "We'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.
"Right now, we're going to go celebrate."
Brooke Point at Osbourn Park, 7
Patrick Henry-Roanoke at Forest Park, 7
Fauquier at Colonial Forge, 7
Woodbridge at E.C. Glass, 6