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Lately, you could expand the certainties of life to include death, taxes, and Atlee girls volleyball.
With another straight set victory Tuesday night over Glen Allen (25-15, 25-6, 25-20), the Raiders moved to 13-1 overall, winners of 30 consecutive sets of play. But it was Atlee’s annual trip to the Lee-Davis gym that provided head coach Curtis Carpenter’s annual bout of anxiety, heading into enemy territory to face an always hungry Confederate squad.
“I’m just happy to get out of here,” Carpenter said with relief and a laugh after Atlee escaped Lee-Davis with a 3-0 win.
After dominating the first set, the Raiders found themselves down set point in the second at 24-23. But the Raiders rallied for three straight points to seize the 2-0 lead and never looked back.
“When Clarke [Tyler] made a point and thumped her chest to tell her teammates, ‘C’mon, let’s go!’ that’s the kind of intensity that we need. That’s why you do this, to see that intensity show in young kids’ play.”
While Tyler’s mark was made at the net, Melanie Snyder made her return to the court from injuries to both shins, taking over her familiar libero position with 14 digs and her trademark leadership. Snyder’s return didn’t relegate Lauren Stanford, who spelled her through her absence, to the bench, as she continued to play a key role, strengthening the depth of an already dangerous squad.
With some of the top teams in the state gathering this weekend at the Cave Spring Tournament in Roanoke, including Kellam, the team that topped Atlee last November for the Group AAA state title, Carpenter knows exactly what kind of volleyball Atlee needs to play in order to control tempo, action, and inevitably, their destiny.
“We need to play ball control. I don’t care what that side does, but this side needs to play ball control,” Carpenter noted. “When you start rolling the ball and trying to dink the ball, that’s not how we play. That’s just asking for trouble.”
The Cave Spring experience will give the Raiders their toughest competition since the Virginia Volleyball Showcase Labor Day Weekend, and will give Carpenter and his staff an inside look at what it will take to make yet another run at that elusive state title.
Lee-Davis moved back into the win column Tuesday over Armstrong to go to 11-5 on the year, and will go back to the drawing board to see how they can duplicate the success of their second set against the Raiders, with one exception, how to close out Atlee when they arrive at set point. The Confederates/Raiders rematch, at Atlee, is Oct. 29.
In other girls action, Hanover halted a losing skid by taking a 3-0 sweep over Henrico Tuesday night to move to 8-7. Miranda Hall led the Hawks with nine kills, five aces and seven digs, while April Lankford added seven digs and five aces. Patrick Henry fell in a five-set heartbreaker to Maggie Walker Governor’s School Tuesday, losing the tiebreaker 15-6. The loss came just 24 hours after the Patriots (5-8) had knocked off the Hawks in four sets for their lone win over a county rival in 2013.