As sophomores, Blair St. Onge, Barbara Downes and Ashley Young helped lead the Fauquier volleyball team within two matches of a state title. At yesterday's Virginia AA Region II tournament, the hard-hitting trio of seniors gave themselves another chance to win a championship.
Fauquier survived three grueling, three-game matches and more than four hours of volleyball, finally clinching its first regional title with an 11-15, 15-6, 15-12 win over Loudoun Valley at Potomac Falls High.
"As a senior, it's amazing, it's indescribable, it's the most wonderful feeling," Young said.
The three combined with fellow senior Lindsey Davis to record 89 kills on the day, giving the Falcons (17-8) the most potent and balanced offense of the eight-team field. Fauquier also had the most senior starters (five) of any team at the event, headlined by the three holdovers from 2001.
"Then I was a little girl; I'm so much more confident now," said St. Onge, who dominated in the final match, finishing with seven kills and six blocks. "I think we're more talented, honestly; I think we're a scrappier team and I think we can go farther."
By winning the Region II volleyball title, Fauquier will host Region I runner-up Chancellor (17-2) on Tuesday in a Virginia AA quarterfinal. Loudoun Valley will travel to face Region I champion Jamestown (22-3).
Yesterday's final featured two teams adept at spectacular comebacks. Two-time defending state champion Loudoun Valley (19-8) erased a 12-1 deficit in its first game of the day, then came back from an 11-2 hole in the first game of its semifinal victory over Stone Bridge. That win ensured the Vikings their fourth straight state tournament appearance.
Fauquier, meantime, faced down 6-0 and 6-1 holes in the third games of its first two matches yesterday. In the semifinal against Valley District runner-up Turner Ashby, the Falcons dropped the first game but ended the second with a 9-1 run. In the third, Fauquier rallied from the early deficit behind Young, who had four kills in the game.
So when the Falcons dropped the first game of the championship match, they didn't panic.
"We just went back out and focused, because there was no way we were going to let this one slip away," Downes said. "I'm not at all tired right now. I could play another game, I'm so energized because of the win."
Loudoun Valley advanced to the final in the most dramatic match of the day, a 16-14, 14-16, 15-11 win over Stone Bridge that lasted nearly two hours and featured 15 ties. Because of last week's snow-related postponements, both teams played two district tournament matches on Friday. They met in the Dulles District final, with Stone Bridge claiming its first title in three similarly back-and-forth games.
But yesterday, Loudoun Valley got 27 kills from freshman Blair Brown to advance to its fourth straight region final. Doing so required five matches in two days for the Vikings; all five went the full three games.
"Never in my whole life have I been this tired," said senior Alana Boyle, who had 15 kills in the semifinal victory.
Fauquier and Loudoun Valley both made the final without having won their district regular season or tournament championships.