Langley was a point away from dropping the second set of the Virginia 6A North volleyball semifinal Thursday at South County when Saxons Coach Susan Shifflett had seen enough. She called timeout, gathered her team and implored the Saxons to dig deeper.
The plea was heeded, as Langley won the set and went on to beat the Stallions, 25-18, 28-26, 18-25, 25-20, to advance to a date at Osbourn Park on Saturday in the region final. The Yellow Jackets earned their trip by beating Madison in straight sets.
This will be Langley’s second straight trip to the region final, but it didn’t come easy. The Saxons (24-3) trailed several times in the first two sets, dropped the third, then rallied to win the fourth.
“We’re a team that comes from behind a lot of times in our games,” Langley junior Rachel Andrejev said. “We just know how to deal with adversity and we know how to get it together as a team to not let the score bother us.”
Andrejev posted a team-high 15 kills after being slowed by a cold earlier in the week against Chantilly.
The first set included 10 ties and six lead changes before the Saxons took control with a 10-3 run.
“South County brought it, I was really impressed with what they did,” Shifflett said. “I haven’t heard a lot about them throughout the season but [Cathy Scaniffe] and [Allison Bruder] did a really nice job.”
Scaniffe posted 13 kills and Bruder added nine kills for the Stallions (25-6).
South County jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third set and never relinquished the lead.
The fourth set was another back-and-forth affair before Langley seized control by winning the final five points to secure the match. Sophomore Jessica Donaldson (six kills) slammed in the game-winning kill on an assist from Alex Andrejev (six kills, 15 assists).
Donaldson admitted she was struggling with her passing.
“I actually played awful,” she said. “My passing was so bad, but I think we came together as a team and wanted to win. The team always makes me feel there and excited regardless of how I’m playing.
“It was loud they had a lot of fans and I think being in a tiny gym makes it even louder,” Osbourn Park Coach Michele Blue said. “We looked good, we were able to read every hit and we were firing on all cylinders. I am so proud of them.”
The victory gave Osbourn Park its first regional final appearance since 2010.