Six weeks ago, Westfield volleyball coach Jim Bour was pleasantly surprised when his team, 9-10 the previous season, won all four of its matches at the Ukrop's Volleyball Showcase in Richmond.
With his Bulldogs now 15-1, and ranked No. 5 in the area, Bour has come to expect a lot from his players. He's just not sure from whom in particular.
"The only surprise now is that it seems to be somebody different every night," he said.
In the most recent match, a 23-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-22 win over Oakton last Thursday, middle hitters Rachel Haney, a junior, and Kelsey Maloney, a sophomore, stood out by combining for 17 kills.
"It seems like teams are maybe trying to concentrate on our outside hitters and the middles took advantage," Bour said. "Every night somebody is picking it up and doing something different. . . . It's a complete joy. It's unbelievable."
Some teams that have won eight consecutive matches -- the lone loss this season was to No. 2 Loudoun Valley on Sept. 10 -- might prefer not having a lengthy break. That's not necessarily the case with Westfield, which is amid an 11-day matchless span because of a hiccup in the schedule.
Bour thinks the respite will only make the Bulldogs stronger for the final several matches, with three against Concorde District competition, including at rival Centreville on Oct. 20.
"Coming down with the last three weeks of the regular season, it's kind of a good time" for a break, said Bour, adding that some of his seniors have college trips planned during the free weekends. "We can do some really good chalkboard stuff and talk about things that maybe we can't spend as much time on because of the [usual] time crunch.
"You want them to relax a little bit. It's going to get really hectic here starting with next week."