“Everyone has their own routine,” said Bukala, who was second-team All-Met as a junior last season. “I’m not quite sure how I really came up with it, but if you find something that works, keep doing it.”
And why change when she’s on a roll, just like her team? The Raiders have continued their dominance in the region this year, winning their first 19 games.
Bukala also has 141 kills this season, while fellow outside hitter Ashley Rubino has 128. Add Chandler Vaughan and Hannah Prendergast’s steady assists and a defense anchored by libero Josephine Williams, and the Raiders have been untouchable.
Loudoun County did have to make some adjustments when new coach John Senchak arrived at the start of the season after two successful seasons with Tuscarora. He replaced Sherrilyn Hanna, who stepped down earlier in 2018 after winning four state titles in four years.
“The expectations on this program are significant,” Senchak said. “Most teams, you get a win and it’s exciting. We make the news here at County when we lose a match.”
The Raiders have not dropped a set since Sept. 11, though they were very close to losing the second set against James Wood last Thursday. A few times, players didn’t dive for the ball, expecting their teammates to do so, and the Raiders went down 20-19. Senchak attributed that to complacency.
“We have tendencies as athletes. We do what we’re accustomed to unless we force ourselves to do what the plan requires us to do,” Senchak said. “They slipped into a little bit of complacency, because they know their primary role and they’re forgetting their secondary and tertiary roles.”
After Senchak called a timeout and asked his senior leaders to step up, the Raiders won six consecutive points to win the set. They are now four matches away from completing an undefeated regular season.
“My goal as a coach is at the end of the match, the Raiders walk off knowing they’re happy with their performance,” Senchak said. “If you walk off knowing you had given the game everything you had, there’s nothing left in you, the result is not what matters. We want to become a stronger team that performs better together.”
1. Loudoun County (19-0) LR: 2
The Raiders have not lost a set since Sept. 11.
2. Stone Bridge (19-1) LR: 3
Helen Boyles had 17 kills in two wins last week to lead the Bulldogs.
3. Flint Hill (20-1) LR: 4
Setter Krissy O’Malley led the Huskies to victory over St. John’s and Sidwell Friends.
4. Northwest (10-1) LR: 1
The Jaguars suffered their first loss against Wootton since 2016. Jenaisya Moore recorded her 1000th career kill.
5. Atholton (13-2-1) LR: 5
The Raiders continued their sweep-streak by beating Glenelg and River Hill.
6. Paul VI (20-2) LR: 6
The Panthers have only lost one set since Sept. 24.
7. Magruder (17-0) LR: 7
The Colonels survived another scare last week, beating North Hagerstown in five sets.
8. Chantilly (21-0) LR: 8
The Chargers close out the regular season Tuesday against Oakton.
9. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (15-1) LR: 9
After suffering their first loss of the season Oct. 1 at the Battle of Bethesda Tournament, the Barons have not lost a set.
10. South River (10-0) LR: 10
The Seahawks remain undefeated after beating Arundel, 3-0, last week.
On the Bubble: Washington-Lee (17-3), Northern (10-1)