By Emma Myers
Ashburn (Nov. 15, 2014) – On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Briar Woods High School Falcons traveled into the Dog Pound and stormed back from a two-set deficit to defeat the Stone Bridge High School Bulldogs, 3-2, in the VHSL 5A North Region volleyball championship.
“It’s the first time that we’ve done anything like this, so it’s incredible and the fact that it was Stone Bridge, our rival, is an even a bigger deal,” Briar Woods junior Lauren Twitty said. “It gives us a lot more confidence going into the state tournament.”
At the start of the match, it looked as though Stone Bridge would be crowned the region champ. After falling behind 13 points, the Falcons lost the first set 25-11 to the Bulldogs. The early momentum carried over to the second set for the Bulldogs, who promptly took the win 25-18 and went up two sets to none.
“I think our confidence went down a couple levels,” Twitty said. “I think that we were just intimidated.”
If the Falcons were intimidated, they did not show it. Briar Woods took a commanding nine point lead in the third set and then ultimately escaped with the win 25-20 to force a fourth set.
“I knew that as soon as we turned it on that there was no stopping us,” Briar Woods head coach Marsha Hermes said. “We told the girls that if you win the third we are going to go to five and that’s exactly what they did.”
After initially falling to the Bulldogs 3-1 in the fourth set, the Falcons battled back and won the set by the widest margin yet, 25-16, and forced a fifth set.
“We knew that whoever wanted it most would take it,” Briar Woods senior Taylor van der Biezen said.
The tightly played fifth set flipped back and forth with one point margins throughout the entire first half of the set. It was not until more than halfway through the final set that the Falcons jumped out and took a four point lead, 12-8.
After taking the convincing lead, the Falcons never looked back winning the fifth set, 15-9.
For the first time in volleyball school history, the Briar Woods Falcons won a region championship. But while the team relishes in their victory, they believe they are not done yet.
“There’s no looking back,” Hermes said. “Every single point is ours, every single set is ours, every single match is ours, and there’s no backing down.”
With their win, the Falcons secured home court advantage for the VHSL 5A state semifinals and host the 5A South Region’s No. 2 Lee-Davis High School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
Stone Bridge also secured a state bid and will travel to the 5A South Region’s No. 1 Princess Anne High School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
“Knowing that a great team like [Stone Bridge], we can stick with them, it pushes us a little more into working harder at practice and lets us know to never give up,” Twitty said. “We know that we can hang with any team in the state now.”
Emma Myers is a senior at Briar Woods High School in Ashburn. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.