GOOCHLAND – The ball was a moment away from hitting the floor…
…until Goochland Libero Ellie Spencer dove into the picture, reaching out and getting a hand on it, keeping it in the air.
Freshman Nina Smith then rushed in along the left side of the court, extending forward to bump it backwards…
…but still in reach of sophomore Nova Wonderling as she ran it down…
…and with her hands joined together, punched the ball high, over her head…
…and across the net.
Her team, Goochland, finished off the wild rally with the block.
“It feels awesome having that type of effort,” Spencer said. “It feels good to have everybody work hard.”
It was one of the few instances on Thursday night where the Bulldogs had to reach for one of their 75 points in an otherwise commanding performance as they swept Nottoway 3-0 (25-9, 25-14, 25-20).
“It’s really exciting to see them going after the ball and hustling after it – especially Nina,” Goochland coach Rachel Jacobsen said, referring to Smith, who made 4 kills Thursday. “She’s only a freshman and she’s jumping in and helping save plays…it’s exciting to see her jumping in and she’s taking it really seriously. We’re excited to have her.”
Spencer led the Bulldogs in digs on Thursday night with 19. She also mixed in some strong attacks, with one helping her team secure the second set point.
“Ellie’s always a huge asset for us,” Jacobsen said. “She has just been everywhere. She is all over the court all the time. No matter what, she is one of our most aggressive players, so it’s great to have her.”
Spencer’s teammates – including Ilaria Russell and Trinity Wonderling – joined her in making key diving saves on the night. Setter Trinity had 11 digs to go along with her 9 assists, Taylor Michaels made 4 digs as well as 3 kills and 2 aces and versatile player and outside hitter Nova had 7 digs alongside 3 kills.
“Nova is always on fire,” Spencer said with a laugh. “Nova has grown so much as well, just hitting – she’s a beast in a good way.”
She added that Nina Smith is “definitely rising to the occasion,” and she’s loving all the effort she’s seeing from her teammates.
Outside of the Virginia Volleyball Showcase, Goochland remains unbeaten through five matches heading into Monday’s 5:30/6:30 JV/varsity home match versus Cumberland.
“They’re doing an awesome job,” Jacobsen said of her players. “I think we’re playing really scrappy – I think they’re getting a lot of stuff that maybe in the past we wouldn’t have, so I’m really excited about that.”