GOOCHLAND – Trinity Wonderling said she always thinks about everything before the play occurs – she’s thinking what she’ll do if the situation is this or that before putting it to play – and she plans out what she’ll do based on who she has around her.
With the first set all knotted up at a nail biting-score of 24-even between Wonderling’s Goochland Bulldogs and visiting Fluvanna, the situation proved right for the senior setter to pull off a favorite move.
The ball came to her and she made to set it high…
…but instead of pushing it directly skyward for one of her attackers to try and hammer over the net, she did what had already gotten her team a point earlier in the set.
She arched the ball over the net herself with the surprise setter dump attack.
“When they’re not ready, you can tell, and then you just dump it. It gives them something to be on their toes about,” Wonderling said, “and most people usually aren’t on their toes.”
Fluvanna didn’t get to the attack in time.
Wonderling’s disguised kill set up match point.
Goochland Volleyball would win the tightly contested first set 26-24 before pulling away to blank the Flying Flucos 3-0 on Thursday and open the season on a pair of match victories.
Wonderling did a little bit of everything for the Bulldogs on Thursday, and she did all those things well. She went low to keep points alive. She rose to the net for blocks. She gave her team another attack option on the third touch. And then she set the ball well on the second touch while mixing in a couple of key dump attacks to catch the visitors off-guard.
“She’s always a key player for us; she does it all,” Goochland coach Rachel Jacobsen said of Wonderling. “Hitting is newer, but she’s really sort of come into it. That was one of those things – she did it randomly in practice, I was like: ‘You’re gonna keep doing that!’ She’s picked it up, she’s taking it in stride and she’s a really good leader on the court.”
Goochland clawed back from a 22-18 first-set deficit to take a narrow lead before Fluvanna tied the match at 24-all. After Wonderling’s timely setter dump pushed her team into the lead, the Bulldogs grabbed the 1-0 advantage on a 26-24 triumph when Fluvanna hit away Goochland’s serve.
“These girls do a really good job of keeping focused and, when things start going wrong, just centering back in, taking that deep breath and just moving on to the next point,” Jacobsen said. “We’ve been working on that.”
The visitors rallied in Set 2 to tie the match at 19-all, but a 6-1 closing stretch lifted the Bulldogs ahead 2-0; Goochland then took command in the third and final set to win going away, 25-11.
“It was the energy, definitely,” Wonderling said, adding: “Communication is probably one of the biggest things in volleyball, and being able to communicate with your team and have fun while doing it is like the best feeling.”
For Goochland, Mary King was a dominant blocking and attacking force up the middle, and Taylor Michaels was able to effective slam the ball across the court to deliver kills and force hitting errors by the visitors. Ilaria Russell, Ellie Spencer and Michaels were among the lockdown defenders in the back.
“Everyone played their part, and it was amazing to see everyone come together,” Wonderling said. “Today we were so tight; it felt good to be together and have people support us.”
Goochland is off to a 2-0 start following its victory over Fluvanna. On Tuesday in their season opener, the Bulldogs handled Buckingham 3-0 (25-16, 25-21 and 25-11). In the opener, King delivered 9 kills and 3 blocks, Rachel Carter had 4 kills, Wonderling made 12 assists and 4 kills and Spencer had 22 digs.
The Bulldogs (2-0) will take on the Virginia Volleyball Showcase at Richmond Volleyball Club this weekend before playing at Randolph-Henry on Tuesday, Sept. 3 (7 p.m.), hosting Amelia County on Wednesday, Sept. 4 (7 p.m.) and re-matching Fluvanna on the road on Thursday, Sept. 5 (6:30 p.m.)
“We’re excited to see what comes,” Jacobsen said.