The Salem Civic Center will be the site of the Virginia High School League state championship volleyball games for Class 1, 2 and 3 Friday night. At press time, Lord Botetourt was still alive and hoping to win a second straight Class 3 championship.
The Cavaliers were scheduled to play Hidden Valley at LB on Tuesday night, and the winner advances to Friday’s state championship in Salem. The LB-Hidden Valley winner will play the winner of a semifinal game between Tabb and Warren County. Lord Botetourt beat Warren County in last year’s championship match in Richmond in three sets.
While LB is the likely favorite among the final four teams, coach Julie Conner was taking nothing for granted heading into the semifinal round. Hidden Valley beat Region C champion Rockbridge County in straight sets Saturday night to improve to 23-5 on the season.
“I know they’ll come here ready to play,” said Conner of the Titans prior to Tuesday’s match. “We have to control the match.”
Lord Botetourt improved to 30-1 with a state quarterfinal win over Rustburg on Saturday night. LB won 25-12, 25-8 and 25-13 in a dominating performance in the Cavaliers’ gym. Rustburg was the Region C runner-up and LB is the Region D champion.
“Rustburg had some good serve receiving but I thought our girls did real well,” said Conner.
Miette Veldman led Botetourt with 13 kills, 11 digs and two blocks. Catherine Reinard had six kills and Brooklyn Shelton and Scottie Cook had five kills each and combined for seven blocks. Jordyn Kepler assisted on 23 points and had two aces while Kenleigh Gunter had 10 digs and an ace.
If Botetourt can advance to Friday’s championship the Cavaliers’ match would be the third of the three championship matches. The Class 1 championship is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center, followed by the Class 2 match at 6 p.m. and Class 3 at 8 p.m. Locally, Radford was still alive in Class 2 heading into the semifinals and Auburn was in the final four in Class 1.
The VHSL championship matches will be a first for the Salem Civic Center and a big crowd is expected. Salem played host to the CIAA college championship last weekend on the pieced-together “sport court.”
“Our girls play on that a lot with their travel teams,” said Conner. “That wouldn’t be anything unusual for them. It should be a great atmosphere.”