In a year where many expected Atlee girls volleyball to step back towards the pack, the Raiders used a rare come-from-behind performance to win the Class 5A South Region title Thursday, defeating Princess Anne in five sets 25-27, 25-19, 19-25, 25-19 and 15-11.
The night belonged to Clarke Tyler, who had an amazing 28 kills for Atlee (30-2), including five in the fifth-set tiebreaker, while Rachel Stanford tallied 51 assists.
It was the first time all year the Raiders had fallen behind two sets to one in a five-set match. Both of their losses came in three-set matches in weekend tournaments.
“A lot of people gave up on us, saying this is the year we were going to lose,” said Atlee head coach Curtis Carpenter, named Class 5A Region Coach of the Year after the tournament. “We had a nice mix of experience with the older girls and some nice talent coming in. They know their roles and they know they have to do it together.”
Tyler and Stanford were named First Team All-Region for 5A South, along with Chelsea Matthews of Lee-Davis. Junior libero Melanie Snyder, who verbally committed to play collegiately for Marist College over the weekend, was named to the Second Team.
The Raiders are the top seed from the South Region and will play Broad Run (21-10) in a State 5A Semifinal Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Siegel Center in Richmond. A victory would put them back in the State Championship game Saturday night at 7 p.m. against either Princess Anne or 5A North Champion Stone Bridge.
The magical ride for Lee-Davis field hockey came to a sudden and disappointing end Friday afternoon in Virginia Beach, as the Confederates were outmatched in the Class 5A State Semifinals by North Region champion Mountain View 7-0.
Lee-Davis’ first trip to the State Tournament was spent mostly in their defensive zone, as the Wildcats dominated play in the first half, scoring their first goal 55 seconds into the game, and holding a 4-0 lead at halftime that could have been more if not for the play of Lee-Davis goalkeeper Courtney Gosslin and her defensive teammates, led by Amanda Loving.
The second half found Lee-Davis getting more opportunities on their offensive end, but never being able to mount enough of a run to avoid the shutout. Mountain View eventually won the 5A State Championship, defeating Gloucester 3-1 in Saturday’s final.
The season comes to an end for a 19-3 Lee-Davis squad that will be remembered as trailblazers. After retiring the Capital District Tournament trophy last year, they won the inaugural Conference 11 trophy this season on the way to a school-record 19 wins to go with their maiden voyage to State Tournament play. They lose several standouts to graduation, including Cameron Gibson, who will now go on to play collegiately in the Big Ten at Indiana University.
Atlee’s cross country contingent at Saturday’s Class 5A State Championships at Great Meadows in The Plains came away with impressive finishes, led by Nathaniel Hall, missing the runner-up position by just two seconds. Hall, a senior, placed third in the 5A Boys Final finishing in 15:38, earning All-State honors.
Hall was joined in the All-State category by Lee-Davis senior Paul Adam, who had a strong run, placing ninth overall in 16:06, while his Confederates teammate Grayson Morgan placed 33rd at 16:52. As a team, the Atlee boys finished 10th, Lee-Davis was 11th.
The Raider girls finished fourth overall in their 5A team competition, led by All-State honoree Katt Grasberger, placing eighth in a time of 19:15, while teammate Scarlett Bavin just missed placing as an All-State performer, finishing 16th in 19:39. Sister Chloe Bavin was 30th (20:11), while Patrick Henry’s Amy Dunham, who qualified for state competition individually at the 5A North Region event, ran the race in 20:18 for a 38th place finish overall.
In the Class 4A State Championships, the Hanover girls team placed 10th in the state, led by senior Annie Sadler’s 19th place finish, clocking in at 19:57. The Hawks’ youth movement shined, with sophomore Laurel Kalinowski, juniors Courtney Chenault, Allison Burns, and Sarah Owen and freshman Dayton Petrus all aiding their 10th place team finish.
Caleb Haneline of Hanover qualified individually for the Boys 4A State Finals and finished in a time of 17:58.