BUFFALO GAP — The Staunton Storm used a strong net game Thursday night to defeat Buffalo Gap in four sets in Shenandoah District volleyball action. The Storm won the match 25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 25-21.
The Bison used a 4-0 spurt to wipe a two-point deficit and take a two-point, 19-17, lead in the opening set. A kill by Katherine Alger and two more by Amaya Lucas sparked the Gap surge.
A kill by Staunton's Lillian Kopia was offset by a kill from Gap's Leah Sherrill as the Bison maintained a two-point lead, 20-18.
Kills by Gabby Liccione and Emma Witt pulled the Storm even before Teagan Via put down a kill to keep Gap in front, 21-20.
A kill by Witt returned serve to Staunton and evened the score at 21-21. The Storm reeled off the final four points to close out the set 25-21. An ace by Kara Flavin and kills by Sidney Fix and Witt highlighted the final run.
The Storm used a 5-0 spurt in the second set to open a 14-7 lead and the visitors held the Bison at bay the rest of the way to take a two-set lead.
A kill by Liccione had Staunton up 21-13, but Gap reeled off four straight points, one on a kill by Alger, to close to within 21-17.
After the teams traded points, a kill by Kopia and an ace by Kellsye Miller took the Storm to set point at 24-18. Gap added two points before a kill by Witt closed out the second set, 25-20.
Gap stayed alive by dominating the third set. A block by Lucas, a kill by Alger and a service ace by Sherrill gave the Bison a double-digit lead, 21-10. Staunton fought back and trimmed the margin to six, 23-17, before the Bison added the final two points to win the third set 25-18.
Staunton jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set and held off a late Bison rally to win the match.
Leading 10-8, the Storm scored four straight points, the final two on kills by Kopia, to increase the margin to 14-8.
A kill by Kriston Parr gave the Storm a 20-13 lead, but Gap refused to wilt as two straight points, one on a kill by Alger, closed the gap to 20-15.
A kill by Witt and an ace by Miller pushed the Storm lead to 23-15, before a Staunton service error, an ace by Gap's Alger and a hitting error by the Storm helped the Bison pull to within 23-18.
A kill by Kopia moved the Storm to set point, but a Storm hitting error, a Storm net violation and a block by Gap's Sherrill kept the Bison alive as they closed to within 24-21.
Liccione then gave a perfect middle set to Witt and the Storm junior put down the kill for the final point as Staunton closed out the match with a 25-21 win in the fourth set.
Storm setter Liccione spread the ball to a variety of hitters as, unofficially, three Staunton hitters had at least nine kills. Witt led the way with 14 kills, followed by Fix with 11 and Kopia with nine. Liccinone finished with five kills and also added five service aces. Fix chipped in with four aces for the Storm.
Lucas paced the Bison with 10 kills, followed by Sherrill with eight, Via with seven and Alger with six. Sherrill topped the Bison with three aces followed by Via, Alger and Ellee Knight with two each.
Staunton, now with a 5-5 record, closes out its regular season Friday evening when it hosts Fort Defiance for senior night. With the loss, Buffalo Gap ends its season with a 3-9 record.