After ending their preseason with an 8-1 record, the Lady Panther varsity volleyball team celebrated a confidence-boosting start to their Bull Run District play, beating Manassas Park Tuesday night, 3-0.
Convincing. That perfectly describes the final preseason home game against Randolph-Macon Academy last Thursday night. With set scores of 25-18, 25-15 and 25-11, Rapp finished their pre-district schedule with senior Hannah Kopjanski contributing eight kills in tandem with newcomer Kaitlyn Jenkins, a freshman, who tallied five kills in the match.
Shelby Thornhill, Lauren Settle and Kopjanski registered perfect serving records for the match. Of the court play, coach Jackie Tederick said, “Our libero, aka defensive specialist, Megan Early, kept the ball alive for us.
“We will begin our district play ready to protect our record and focus on our next goal to win districts and make a statement that we aren’t messin’ around this season.”
As predicted by the coach’s prophetic statement, the Lady Panthers hit the road in the Bull Run District and did no messin’ around.
At Manassas Park, “the first set was a little sketchy,” according to coach Tederick, “but we dominated in the second and third. Manassas Park had two left-handed hitters, and we had to adjust. The girls did well with that.” Joslyn Smith had a great match: four blocks, and nine hits with five kills. Maddie Kopjanski tallied 19 service points for the match. Kopjanski and Addie Swindler both championed perfect serving records. Hannah Kopjanski contributed nine kills.
“We want to be prepared for Strasburg,” coach Settle said. “They’ll give us much more than the Cougars. So, struggling with our first set kinda helped us gain experience. We meet our biggest rival with a 9-1 record.” The Lady Panthers host the Strasburg Rams tonight (Sept. 30) at 6.
JV loses close one to Wakefield
On Thursday, Sept. 23, Rapp JV, who lost two more members to the varsity squad, traveled to Wakefield Country Day and lost a close match in three sets: 27-25, 24-26, 9-15. Their record fell to 6-2 on the season.
Coach Jimmie Swindler reported: “The story of this game was twofold: Wakefield’s improved passing and our serving woes. The combination of those equaled a loss. Playing in an unfamiliar rotation unsettled the team, although they overcame this as the game progressed. Unfortunately, untimely bad serves proved to be our downfall. We look forward to a third meeting with Wakefield in our final home match on Oct. 29.”
Tuesday night, the JV Panthers entered district play and were able to improve their overall record to 8-2 with a win against Manassas Park.
Rapp dominated in the first set with a 25-13 record and very few errors. Set two started differently, as the Panthers fell behind 12-6 with some timid play and dropped balls. Momentum shifted to bring the scoreboard to 20-20, but the girls fell short, losing 22-25. With another slow start in set three, Rapp went down 1-5, but regained control when Paige Paul led a rally with six straight serve points (including three aces). Burnett got the serve back again with a dramatic kill and Bailey finished it off with two aces for the win, 15-12. Greta Hayden Pless contributed eight serve points, and Maddie Heneghan had a stellar defense game on the back line.
“I am immensely proud of this team,” Swindler said. “Having just seven girls available now for the game, and having them all play and contribute to the win” is a fine example of Panther teamwork, he said.
Junior Panthers start
conference play right
In a mirror image to the JV end and beginning, the Junior Panther team lost its final pre-conference match but celebrated victory in its first official on-season game. Monday night’s loss to Shenandoah Valley was a true fight: 25-21, 25-27; 10-15. Sarah Frye and Julia Estes both served 86 percent for the match, but the team suffered loss.
In Monday’s game against Randolph Macon Academy, JPs won in only two sets: 25-10, 25-21. Hannah Bennett led the way with 87 percent serving and three aces. Coach Vickie Williams complimented her girls, “Excellent communication and teamwork. Our new team motto: Release the inner Panther!”
The Junior Panthers’ next match is at home against Riverside Christian School at 4:30 Monday (Oct. 4).