Lady Cavs breeze to semifinals still unbeaten, Knights need 5 sets to win quarters
Both Botetourt County high schools were hoping to be in state championship volleyball games this Saturday as the paper went to press. Both the Lord Botetourt and James River girls had state semifinal games on Tuesday night.
LB was set to host Hidden Valley and James River was at Radford, as the local region teams prevailed in state quarterfinal games Saturday. Lord Botetourt and Hidden Valley are both in Region D in Class 3 and River and Radford are both in Region C in Class 2. Both matches on Tuesday were rematches of regional championship games.
The state championship matches are the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond this Saturday. Champions in all six classifications will be crowned, and if LB and River are both included they’ll play back-to-back at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Matches are every two hours with Class 1 at 11 a.m., Class 2 at 1 p.m., Class 3 at 3 p.m., Class 4 at 5 p.m., Class 5 at 7 p.m. and Class 6 at 9 p.m.
LB went into Tuesday’s match with Hidden Valley with a 29-0 record. The Cavaliers were heavily favored as they played Hidden Valley four times during the regular season and didn’t lose a single set. They played twice during the regular season, once in the Tournament of Champions at Patrick Henry High, and again in the Region D championship. Hidden Valley won the state championship in 2016.
“They have that playoff experience,” said LB coach Julie Conner. “These girls know each other very well, and I expect Hidden Valley to come with all they have.”
The other side of the bracket has Warren County and Southampton. Julie’s sister was headed to the beach area Tuesday to scout that game.
LB earned the spot in the state semifinal with a quarterfinal win over Spotswood on Saturday night in Daleville. The host Cavaliers got off to a good start in each set and raced to a 25-17, 25-8, 25-18 win.
“I thought we could have played better, but we did some good things,” said Conner. “It was hard having a week off between matches, but we got the job done. This week we should be back to our normal routine.”
Miette Veldman led the Cavaliers with 16 kills, two aces and seven digs. Lara Veldman had seven kills, three aces and eight digs, Brooklyn Shelton had four kills and six blocks and Scottie Cook had three kills and seven blocks. Jordyn Kepler had 33 assists.
James River had a tougher time on Saturday, playing in Marion as the Region C runner-up. The Knights pulled out a five set marathon, 25-21, 17-25, 18-25, 25-15 and 15-10.
“The game was so intense it was cray-cray,” said River’s Sydney Newcomb. “We wanted it really bad and all came together to work as a team to win.”
River had 56 kills to just 36 for Marion. Linsey Bailey had 35 herself as she peppered the Marion side of the net from every direction. Bailey Marshall had 13 kills and Michaela Tolley had five. Lillian Clevenger had 25 assists and Makayla Saville had 21.
“Marion was a really good team,” said assistant coach Sara Hammond. “They played well together and their middle hitter was really strong. She put up a huge block. It took some time, but as the night went on our hitters figured out how to be effective and hit around the block.”
River was 23-6 prior to Tuesday’s match in Radford. It was the fourth meeting between the two this season. River won the two regular season matches, 3-0 in Springwood and 3-2 in Radford, but the Bobcats stunned the Knights, 3-0, in the regional final at James River. Radford beat Region D runner-up Union, 3-1, in a quarterfinal round game and the other side of the bracket had Wilson Memorial at Goochland on Tuesday.