At the start of the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region volleyball championship last night at Colonial Forge, Osbourn Park senior libero Kerry Shannon could not see because she had lost a contact lens during warm-ups.
Eventually wearing a lens she borrowed from her mother, Shannon still had faulty vision by the time the tense five-game match ended. Meantime, all of her teammates had seen more than they wanted of Eagles junior middle hitter Emily Frohnapfel.
With 15 kills and four blocks, Frohnapfel helped lead Colonial Forge to a 25-19, 17-25, 31-29, 22-25, 15-9 victory over the fifth-ranked Yellow Jackets, who had won 19 straight matches.
Frohnapfel highlighted the Eagles' effective front-line play early, which she thought set the tone for the match.
"Once we started blocking their hitters, they really took a lot off the ball and were hitting a lot out of bounds," Frohnapfel said. "We came out strong, and I think that they backed down."
"We try to get our kids to keep hitting balls, hitting balls, hitting balls, because we knew we were so much bigger than they were," said Eagles Coach Keith Mesa, whose team has six players 5 feet 9 or taller. "In the first game, just by presenting ourselves at the net, they were hitting a lot of balls long and out of bounds trying to get over the top of our block."
Colonial Forge (21-4) will host the Eastern Region runner-up in a state quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Osbourn Park (21-4) will play at the Eastern champion that night.
The Eagles frittered away a 21-14 lead in the third game but finally gritted it out, thanks in part to a late block by 6-foot-3 sophomore Bianca Richardson. After Osbourn Park took the fourth game, Colonial Forge rattled off the first six points of the fifth.
"I think we got in our own heads when Kerry could only see half of everything," Osbourn Park Coach Kate Southcott said. "We let game one rattle us when we didn't have her, and we were the better team in game one. I still believe we're the better team right now. We just didn't put balls away when we should have."
Colonial Forge sophomore Emily Mohrman had 11 kills and freshman Sarah Frohnapfel had 42 assists. Senior Ashley Ferry had 12 kills and 18 digs for Osbourn Park, which was coming off an emotional five-game semifinal win over No. 9 Forest Park.
Not Turning the Corner
Penalty corners hurt St. Stephen's/St. Agnes in Saturday's Virginia Independent Schools state championship at Goochland Fields in Richmond. The Saints gave up four in the game, and their opponent, St. Catherine's of Richmond, converted on the first two, providing the margin in a 2-0 victory, the Saints' third straight defeat in the VIS championship.
St. Catherine's senior midfielder Carrington Croft scored both goals, deflecting the first off a defender in the first half and blasting the second straight into the goal three minutes into the second half.
"We played with a lot of effort," St. Stephen's/St. Agnes junior Mia Hurrin said. "We worked well as a team. We didn't let down. Somehow we let two goals in on corners."
Opportunities for St. Stephen's/St. Agnes (21-2) were few. With just four minutes left, St. Stephen's/St. Agnes received its first penalty corner. But St. Catherine's senior goalie Julz Anderson stopped senior Carter Foote's shot.
Anderson proved up to the task of stopping the Saints all afternoon. Hurrin had perhaps the team's best chance with six minutes remaining, fighting through St. Catherine's defense and flicking a shot that forced Anderson to a diving save. Hurrin then sprawled for the rebound attempt, but Anderson was there again.
St. Catherine's finished 14-7-1.