The defending state champions began 2014 on the right foot, but not without a few stumbles along the way.
The Atlee Raiders girls volleyball team began defense of their first state title Tuesday night with a 3-0 win at home over Douglas Freeman, but it was not a dominant
Atlee senior Maddie French spikes over Douglas Freeman’s Kerry Baumann during Tuesday night’s 3-0 homecourt win in Mechancisville. French is one of a group of players to return from last year’s state championship team.
“We’ve got things we need to work on, but I don’t want the team to be peaking in September, either,” Atlee head coach Curtis Carpenter said, looking at reality from a positive perspective.
As one of seven county teams to compete at the 17th Annual Virginia Volleyball Showcase Friday and Saturday at Richmond Volleyball Club, ironically, Atlee (32-2) may actually have the most to prove.
The Raiders return five key pieces, led by senior Melanie Snyder, moving to setter after spending her varsity career as the libero.
“It felt weird (playing setter),” Snyder said after the win. “A couple of times I ran for the libero’s position on the court and had to remind myself.”
A key eight-point service run by Snyder clinched set one at 25-14. The Raiders led 11-4 in the second set, seemingly cruising along. But the Rebels answered with a nine-point run of their own to briefly lead, before Atlee took a slight edge, holding on for a 25-22 win.
Snyder had 27 assists in the victory, while senior Maddie French had nine kills on 12 attempts, with no errors. Atlee won the final set 25-11.
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