The Knights come together after winning a point in the state semifinal at Radford.
Photo by Ashley Akers

The James River volleyball team came within one win of a trip to the state championship when the Knights lost to Radford in the state semifinals last week. The Bobcats beat the Knights in three sets, 25-23, 25-17 and 25-18, in Radford.

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise stellar season for the Knights, who finished with a 23-7 overall record. River had beaten Radford twice during the regular season, both home and away, but lost to the Bobcats in the regional final at James River High. Then, after both teams won state quarterfinal games, Radford beat the Knights again in the semifinal.

The tone for the match was set in the first game, when the Bobcats pulled out a close, two- point win. After that Radford took charge and won going away.

Despite the loss River had more kills than Radford, 27-25. Linsey Bailey had 14 of River’s kills in her last high school match while Bailey Marshall had seven and Michaela Tolley had five. Lillian Clevenger had 18 assists.

The difference in the match came in the errors column. James River had 41 errors and Radford had just 23.

“Even though we lost we still remain family,” said River’s Anna Schroeder. “This was the greatest team I’ve ever been on and I’m thankful for that.”

Radford went on to play in the state championship match on Saturday in Richmond and lost a heartbreaker in five sets to Wilson Memorial, dropping the fifth set 16-14 after leading 14-11.