After reaching the 4-A Conference 24 Championship game, Carroll County’s volleyball season came to an end Tuesday night in a Group 4-A North Regional quarterfinal loss at Fluvanna County.
The four-hour bus trek past Charlottesville did not seem to affect the Cavaliers in the early going as Carroll County (16-13) had game-point chances four times in the opening set. The Flying Flucos responded each time before overtaking the Cavs 30-28, however, as Carroll missed two serves with a chance to win.
“We definitely missed a big opportunity there. We missed two serves with game point,” Carroll County head coach Cindy Edwards said. “We were up with a chance to win and served them out of bounds.”
Undeterred, Carroll County took control of the second set to win 25-18, evening things up at one game apiece. Fluvanna County (12-3) settled in to win the third set 25-17 before closing out the game 25-19 in the deciding fourth set. Carroll trailed 24-16 in the final set before scoring three straight. The Cavs thought they had another point, but a touch ruling was made against Carroll, giving Fluvanna the 25-19 victory.
“They were very good defensively. Eustacia (Smith) had 20 kills, but as a team we didn’t put the ball in play and inbounds. That was the difference,” Edwards said. “The percentage was there, but we just didn’t put the ball down on kills. The effort was there. We rode four hours on the bus, and I’m not making any excuses, but we got to the school at 6:15 and played at 7. We had about 15 minutes to get ready, but that was because we didn’t win the conference. Overall, it was a good game.”
In the past, Carroll County has rolled up over 20 wins on several occasions and been knocked out of the Region IV playoffs when it ran into powerful Hidden Valley and Cave Spring teams. Now that Carroll is in the River Ridge District with those two clubs, the win total wasn’t as high for the season, but the Cavaliers were much more battle tested and ready for the postseason.
“Before, we have been blown out on this stage. We had an opportunity to win the first game, we just didn’t hit our serves. We came back to win the second game, and you have to give Fluvanna credit for the third and fourth games,” Edwards said. “I feel like we have made strides. Again, we are in a very tough district, but I do think it helped us for what we faced last night and in the conference. Now we have an idea of what it is going to be like and hopefully we will keep working and progressing that way.”
Maddy Kline led the Flying Flucos with 18 kills and five aces while Leslie Walters added 11 kills and eight aces. Fluvanna’s Emily Haden had 12 kills and setter Kate Stutz led the team with 38 assists. With the win, Fluvanna advanced to the Region semifinals against Loudon County, winners of five of the past six Group AA state championships.
For the game, Carroll County recorded 10 aces compared to just seven missed serves, and hit the ball at an 84 percent clip (116-of-137). With 38 assists, Fluvanna’s Stutz matched the Cavaliers’ team total.
Eustacia Smith had a big night for Carroll, leading the team with 20 kills and three aces. She also had nine digs. Megan Alderman had two aces and a team-high 15 assists, while Cheyenne Strickland added one ace, 5 kills, 13 digs, 14 assists and a team-leading 19 service points. Grace Lindsey paced the Cavs with 15 digs to go along with 14 service points. Jessica Sheek had six kills and 17 service points. Rachel Farmer led Carroll with three blocks, while Morgan Tompkins had two blocks and 17 service points.