Washington High School’s volleyball team has had a rough start to its season.
The Patriots lost a week of their schedule due to a COVID-19 pause, so the team has only been able to play four matches. Washington was supposed to play in the Linganore Lancer Invitational in Frederick County, Maryland, two weeks ago, but it had to drop out during the pause.
Now, the Patriots are back on schedule. Most recently, Washington avenged a loss to Jefferson last year with a 26-16, 25-19, 25-22 win last Thursday at Shenandoah Junction.
The win evens the Patriots’ record at 2-2.
Coach Shimaka Vrobel has returned to the team after not coaching last year. It’s been a challenge, given the lost week, but the mood on the team is upbeat.
“The key is to just stay focused,” Vrobel said. “We’re playing some strong competition, so the thing we have to do is remain upbeat and make smart decisions out on the court.”
After winning the first two sets with relative ease, Washington found itself in a little bit of a battle with the Cougars, who are rebuilding. In the third and deciding set, the Patriots weren’t able to pull away from Jefferson and held just a two-point 24-22 lead.
But a convincing kill from Washington’s Natalie Happy on the final point rescued the Patriots.
“It was nice to take back a win over Jefferson,” Happy, a senior, said.
Vrobel thought perhaps Washington got ahead of itself in the match “Maybe there was a little too much pre-celebration going on after that second set,” she said. “We have to watch out for those kind of mistakes.”
Mika McEvay is a junior on Washington’s team. With much of Jefferson’s size up front gone from last season, the key for the Patriots in last Thursday’s match was hitting the ball to a spot on the other side of the net, where a Cougar player wasn’t.
“You watch for the open spot hits on the floor, in the middle,” McEvay said. “For the taller hitters, you want to hit straight down. You have to adjust for that.”
Jefferson has won just one match this year, but first-year coach Chad Patoray is confident things will get better as the team gains more experience.
“Remember, a lot of these girls are young,” he said. “We’re building for the future. We made some mistakes on coverage in this match, but that will get better over time.
JEFFERSON’S GIRLS SOCCER team is continuing its successful run.
Last week, the Cougars picked up two more wins, shutting out Hampshire, 3-0, on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Two days later, Jefferson held on to defeat cross-county rival Washington, 2-1.
With those wins, the Cougars are 8-1, having won eight straight.
Cameron Dillow, Grace Lochner and Maddie Hutchinson each had a goal against the Trojans. Chloe deMoulin and Hutchinson each had one assist. Sera Hawley recorded the shutout with two saves.
Dillow and Bria Savage each had a goal in the win over Washington. Solell Basham had an assist. Hawley had four saves.
Washington’s record is at 7-4 as of Saturday. The Patriots lost a road match at George Washington on Saturday.
SHEPHERD ATHLETICS ROUNDUP
• Men’s Soccer—The Rams lost a pair of matches last week. Shepherd dropped a 3-2 decision at Shippensburg last Wednesday, then lost a home match to Slippery Rock, 2-0. The Rams are 1-6.
Carlos Castillo and Shamar Robinson each had a goal for the Rams against Shippensburg. Andrew Tinna. Billy Wood had one save for Shepherd. He also had six saves.
• Volleyball—Shepherd University opened its Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference schedule with a 3-1 win over Shippensburg University on Friday at home. The Rams are 12-1 overall and have won 11 straight matches.
Kitanna Rakestraw had 12 kills with eight blocks for Shepherd. Kiara Rakestraw had 10 kills. Elyssia Smith and Georgia Ohmke each had nine blocks.
Victoria Nicholes had 37 assists for Shepherd. Claire Ellis had 21 digs. Kiera Rakestraw and Ellis earned PSAC Conference players of the week for their efforts.