Gar-Field High had plenty of time to think about its first Virginia AAA Cardinal District volleyball match of the season against No. 7 Woodbridge, which defeated Gar-Field in a five-game district semifinal last year. The Indians' past two matches had been postponed because of inclement weather from Hurricane Floyd and the players had not faced an opponent in two weeks.
Gar-Field (4-1, 1-0) showed little rust, rallying from a 14-11 fourth-game deficit on a flurry of aces to defeat Woodbridge, 15-11, 11-15, 15-11, 16-14.
The Indians' serving took over in the waning moments of the match. With the Vikings (3-1, 1-1) ahead 14-11 in the fourth game, senior Stacey Siefke served a pair of aces over the next three points to tie the score at 14. After a side-out by each team, Gar-Field senior Katie Ratchford closed out the match with two aces of her own.
"I felt so much pressure," Ratchford said of her game-winning serves. "I knew we had to come back and crush them. We had been working so hard over the past two weeks. We had been busting our butts to get ready for this moment."
Gar-Field's previous two matches, against district opponent Hylton and Richmond's Mills Goodwin, were postponed after last week's storm. So when last night's match rolled around, Gar-Field was nervous but ready, with extra practice time under its belt.
"I was pumped up," said junior middle blocker Julia Jackson, who finished with seven kills and three blocks. "I was ready to go. I was like, `Yeah, we're going to get them this time.' "
Gar-Field first-year coach Sue Shelton admits that she was more nervous throughout the match then most of her players. The longtime volleyball and basketball assistant coach was well aware of the history between Gar-Field and Woodbridge and knew the match would be a tough one.
"It's a relief, a real big relief," Shelton said of her first victory. "Throughout this entire match I was more nervous than them. But they were confident and they knew what they had to do to win."