Lady Panthers sweep Eagles in first district match

The Lady Panthers devastated the Clarke County Eagles in a 3-0 match on Tuesday (Oct. 5) with sets of 25-17, 25-6 and 25-20.

“The beasts were unleashed tonight,” said varsity volleyball coach Jackie Tederick. “The girls released all their energy built up” last week, referring to the rain-postponed game last Friday (Oct. 1) against their arch rivals, the Strasburg Rams.

Tuesday night, Rapp played a nearly flawless match overall, but were particularly effective at the net. The Panthers’ front row players put up six blocks and logged some truly impressive match stats. Bryn Sonnet tallied three kills; Danika Kritter executed 10 kills, six assists and three ace serves; Hanna Kopjanski ran up seven kills; Addie Swindler added five kills and three ace serves; Megan Early pounded two back row kills while Kaitlyn Jenkins and Maddie Kopjanski contributed one kill each. Jenkins had three aces in the match.

The Panthers’ defensive specialist, senior Megan Early, had 17 serve receptions and 26 digs. “That makes it 43 times that she touched the ball with a pass to her teammates,” Tederick said.

“It was crazy,” Early said. “I kinda felt like a penguin . . . sliding across the floor. I don’t think I’ve ever slid that far trying to get to a serve. I was so excited about the energy. We didn’t just win . . . we won!

Next week is a big week for the Panthers with three home matches. They have the rescheduled Dig Pink match against Strasburg on Monday night, then Madison on Tuesday and Manassas Park on Thursday.

The varsity Panthers are currently 2-0 in the Bull Run District and 10-1 overall.

JV takes home a win

Tuesday night’s victory celebration started early with the junior varsity team defeating the Eagles in two sets to make them 9-2 for their season.

Panthers had a shaky start in set one, allowing a 6-10 deficit. Coach Jimmy Swindler said his team gave up the momentum to “a much taller and substitute-rich Clarke squad.” But, the girls took it back when Josie Kritter ran four straight serve points and Paige Paul cemented the lead with five more consecutive serves. Some late dropped balls allowed Clarke to creep back into the lead, but Rapp rallied to win the set, 25-22.

Coach Swindler described the frustrations of the second set. “We struggled with Clarke’s serve but made up for those lapses with outrageous defensive plays at the net and in the back court. Especially Lyndie Paul, Maddie Heneghan, and Greta Hayden-Pless.”

In addition, several killer hits by Shelby Burnett, Peyton Bailey and Kritter kept the Panthers in the game. Rapp took the second set, 27-25, to win the match.

“The team is finally learning to brush off their mistakes and look forward to the next play,” Swindler said. “It’s a habit which served them well tonight. I’m immensely proud of their effort, determination and the class shown by these seven outstanding players.”

The JV and varsity Lady Panthers face George Mason tonight (Thursday) on home court starting at 6 p.m.

Junior Panthers beat Riverfront

Rapp’s Junior Panthers celebrated a home court victory Monday night (Oct. 4) against Riverfront in a 2-0 match, bringing their record to 3-6.

In the first set, “we came out a little flat,” Coach Vickie Williams explained. “We missed serves, weren’t moving … just not playing our game.” All that shifted when Kathleen Forrest stepped up to serve. She executed eight consecutive serves, seven of which were aces. In an unlikely follow-up, Sarah Thornhill served seven straight aces. “After that, the first set was in the bag!”

Hannah Bennett led the second set with three points that included two aces, and Julia Estes followed her with five aces.

“The victory was a total team effort,” Williams said.

Junior Panthers were to face Bethel Christian at home on Wednesday night (Oct. 6); results will be reported in next week’s Rappahannock News.