The Westfield volleyball team was determined to improve on last season's sub-.500 finish, and the Bulldogs are doing just that.
With a 25-21, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20 nondistrict victory at Lake Braddock last night, the Bulldogs improved to 11-1, quite a change from last season when they finished 9-10 and lost in the first round of the Virginia AAA Concorde District tournament
After dropping the second game to the Bruins (5-2), Westfield won the last two games behind strong defense, more effective serving and aggressive.
"We've got some depth and versatility this season," said junior setter Kim Corcoran, whose service and sets helped the Bulldogs dominate in the third and fourth games. "We feel like we have a lot to prove, and that when we're working together as a team, then we have a good shot to succeed."
The Bulldogs demonstrated their versatility in the first game, pulling away with the score tied at 16. Sophomore middle hitter Kelsey Maloney delivered a strong block, followed by a kill from Kaci Coleman for a 19-16 lead. Junior setter Adrienne Ginter won three consecutive points on serve to make it 23-17, and the Bulldogs won the game on two Lake Braddock errors.
The Bruins rebounded in the second game, taking a 21-14 lead that included three kills by outside hitter Alice Formwalt. The Bulldogs closed the deficit to 23-20, but made two costly errors to lose the game.
"It had been a while since we had lost a game, and I think they became a bit shell-shocked," Westfield Coach Jim Bour said. "They began playing more aggressively and you could see the confidence building again. You could sense that they drew off the experience they had gained from last year."
Westfield jumped to a 17-10 lead in the third game behind a strong series of serves from Coleman, a stretch in which Maloney and Rachel Haney provided critical kills. Coleman eventually capped the game, 25-17, with an ace.
Despite struggling on serve, Lake Braddock trailed only 20-19 in the fourth game. But the Bulldogs won three consecutive points, and Haney sealed the 25-20 victory with a kill.