GOOCHLAND – Through their first 10 matches in the regular season, the Bulldogs have gone to 4 sets just once.
They won that match as well.
Following a sweep of James River District opponent Buckingham (25-12, 25-21, 25-21) in straight sets, Goochland Volleyball remains unbeaten at 10-0 going into Tuesday’s road contest at Cumberland.
“It feels really good. We’re all working really hard for it,” said senior Ilaria Russell. “It’s paying off.”
“It’s exciting…I expect them to do well and do their best every game,” said Goochland head coach Rachel Jacobsen, “and luckily for us, that’s enough to win every game. We’re just doing what we’re supposed to be doing and I’m glad to see them growing and learning and doing their best.”
The Bulldogs won their first 8 regular-season matches in straight sets before running into Bluestone on Sept. 24.
“We both came in undefeated and only one team was gonna come out with that win,” Russell said. “It felt really nice that it was us.”
The Bulldogs led early on a dominant opening frame of 25-14, but the opposing home team battled back to tie the match, edging Goochland in the second 25-22.
Goochland, however, did more than rebound, trouncing Bluestone 25-13 in the third set before taking the fourth and final one on a winning mark of 25-18.
Senior middle Mary King rolled out 10 kills, 3 blocks and 5 aces on Sept. 24 while young outside hitter Nova Wonderling and senior setter Trinity Wonderling each delivered 7 kills. Trinity also contributed 25 assists and 2 service aces, and Libero Ellie Spencer made 18 digs.
Young setter Blair Bussells continued to impress, delivering 12 assists and 2 aces in addition to Trinity’s numbers.
Against Buckingham on Thursday, Goochland rocketed out to a 14-0 first-set lead with Nova serving for 13 straight points, and went on to showcase its depth through the duration of the match. Junior outside hitter Taylor Michaels and freshman right side hitter Nina Smith both got to shine at home, with Michaels adding 13 digs to 5 kills and Smith dishing out 6 kills along with a pair of blocks. Nova made 11 digs behind 3 service aces.
Russell was at the center of Goochland’s defensive effort throughout the three sets, going after diving-receive-after-diving-receive.
“She’s looking for the ball – she knows it’s going to come to her, and even if it’s not necessarily coming to her, she wants it to come to her,” Jacobsen said of Russell. “She and Ellie both really have that Libero sort of energy, and it’s great to have them both around, and Ilaria did awesome tonight.”
Nova, Michaels and Rachel Carter all joined Russell in successfully diving to save points for Goochland in Thursday’s match.
“It was really nice – I felt really good about myself and my teammates tonight,” Russell said. “We had some really nice hits as well.”
One of those was a lasering kill from sophomore Nova to seal-up match point for the Bulldogs in the third and final set.
“Nova’s got that kind of swing,” Jacobsen said. “She’s doing great.”
Sophomore Blair Bussells in the closing stretch picked a surefire ace and wrapped up a competitive point on a setter dump for a kill.
“Blair is everywhere,” Jacobsen said. “I mean, she’s just a blur on the court, sprinting all over the place.”
Megan Harlow also picked up some key reps for points up front for Goochland on Thursday.
“She’s been doing great; she’s been working really hard,” Jacobsen said of Harlow. “We’ve been working a lot on moving around there in the front...she’s doing it all. We’ve even been trying her right side some. She’s a great player all-around. She’s a lot of fun and she works really hard.”
The Bulldogs are excited to keep on going as they take on a three-game stretch this coming week with Cumberland on the road on Tuesday, Oct. 1, Fluvanna on the road on Wednesday, Oct. 2 and Randolph-Henry at home on Thursday, Oct. 3. Varsity games follow JV’s games, which all begin at 5:30 p.m.
“We have to keep our energy up; we have to keep bringing our teammates up, not letting anyone get down,” Russell said, “and just play as a team – work together.”