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Waynesboro volleyball team shows flashes in loss to Buffalo Gap

Waynesboro volleyball team shows flashes in loss to Buffalo Gap

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BUFFALO GAP — Buffalo Gap appears to be getting its mojo back at the right time after the Bison cruised past the Waynesboro Little Giants 25-12, 25-20, 25-8 Tuesday night in Shenandoah District volleyball.

The victory was the second straight for the Bison after a four-match tailspin, and the resurgence couldn’t be happening at a better time with only two matches remaining in the regular season.

“I think we have gotten it back together,” said Buffalo Gap head coach Jessi Fitzgerald after watching her team dispatch the winless Giants in an hour. “We have shown up to play in our last two matches.”

Buffalo Gap (10-8, 4-6) is still hanging onto the No. 3 seed in the Region 1B power ratings, but has Riverheads and Appomattox Regional Governor’s School nipping at its heels. The third and fourth seeds host first-round regional matches, while the top two seeds earn byes in the six-team tournament.

Waynesboro (0-15, 0-9), again having to play on back-to-back nights, endured another sweep in what has turned into a lost season because of the month-long COVID-19 pause.

But to their credit, the Giants showed flashes against the Bison only to fall back into long periods of inconsistency.

“We had our spurts tonight,” Waynesboro head coach Lori Aleshire said. “But in the game of volleyball everyone on the court has to be on the same page. We can’t get all six on the same page at one time as we have no consistency.

“Volleyball is a game of mistakes and taking advantage of your opponent’s mistakes. We are the ones making a lot of mistakes. We can’t put 25 points together right now,” Aleshire said.

Case in point came in the first set as the Giants were going point-for-point with the Bison when suddenly all four wheels came off at once. With Waynesboro leading 8-7, Ellee Knight’s kill tied the set at 8-all, sending Emma Kate Maxwell to the service line. When Maxwell finally was forced off the line, the Bison were ahead 19-8.

Maxwell’s 11-0 blitz featured two aces along with three kills from Leah Sherrill.

“It suddenly just spiraled out of control,” Aleshire said. “We were playing well to that point and then we weren’t. I called a couple timeouts and made some substitutions, but nothing seem to work.”

The second set followed the same pattern as the Giants were right there trailing 15-14 when Gap broke it open with a 5-0 spurt that Sherrill started with a kill and finished with an ace.

Waynesboro used a 4-0 run to slice the deficit to 21-19, but Teagan Via’s ace and two kills from Taylor Via helped finish off the outcome.

Sherrill spearheaded another monster run in the third set at the service line. With Gap nursing a 7-6 margin, Sherrill pounded a kill and then went to the line for 13 straight points and a 21-6 blowout. She had six aces, including a stretch of three straight, while Teagan Via ripped two kills, and Bailey Talley and Taylor Woods one apiece.

“I liked the way we kept our intensity up the entire match,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to focus on our game no matter who is on the other side of the net.”

Sherrill finished her strong overall performance with 11 kills, seven aces and seven digs. Maxwell had 23 assists, while Taylor Via added seven kills, 10 digs and four blocks, and twin sister Teagan totaled seven kills, 14 digs and five blocks. Woods contributed four kills and 12 digs, and Knight registered four aces and seven digs.

For Waynesboro, Kaitlyn Hull had 12 assists and six digs, while Keghan Marion produced three kills and six digs. Kali Jones recorded two kills and two digs, and Mariela Ruiz scooped up 17 digs.

Waynesboro plays its final Thursday match of the regular season at home against district unbeaten Fort Defiance. Buffalo Gap is idle Thursday before starting the final week Monday at the Indians.

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