Ashburn, Va. — With their backs against the wall, the Stone Bridge High School volleyball team made a decision to dig in. After dropping the first and third sets to rival Briar Woods, the Bulldogs defended five total match points in the fourth and fifth sets, before rallying off three points in a row to defeat the Falcons – 17-25, 25-21, 17-25, 26-24, 18-16 – on September 19 in Ashburn.
“The gym was electric. It’s nice to see that much enthusiasm. I love to see that crowd when we’re home. They definitely had an impact and got the energy going for us,” Stone Bridge head coach Jill Raschiatore said. “The girls did a great job of staying in the match and never giving up. It was a great battle for both teams.”
Stone Bridge proved resilient time and time again in the match. After dropping the first set, the Bulldogs came back to win the second. Then after dropping the third, Stone Bridge fended off a Briar Woods rally, defended match point, and won the fourth.
“It’s hard to come back after dropping two sets,” Raschiatore said. “But it doesn’t matter who wins one or two, you need to win three.”
Tied at 2-2, Stone Bridge once again fell into a familiar hole as the Briar Woods bench erupted after each point. The Bulldogs finally took the lead in the fifth at 8-7. The teams traded points over the next eight serves, before Briar Woods evened things back out at 12-12.
On the next serve, Stone Bridge was called for an illegal rotation, giving the Falcons a 13-12 lead. Briar Woods scored the next point, setting up another match point.
The gym was electric. It’s nice to see that much enthusiasm. I love to see that crowd when we’re home. They definitely had an impact and got the energy going for us.
Led by junior middle Mahalia Amazigo, sophomore setter Mahala Esser, and senior hitter Peyton Yamagata, Stone Bridge successfully defended the potential game winner, closing the gap to 14-13. On the next point, the Bulldogs pulled through again, as the game drew to a 14-14 tie. Stone Bridge would go on to defend match points at 15-14 and 16-15, before rallying off three straight points to defeat Briar Woods, 18-16, and win the match, 3-2.
“Hopefully that resiliency is going to carry us beyond tonight and into the future,” Raschiatore said. “If we’re ever in that position again, we’ll see that we’ve gotten through this before, we can did deep and do it again.”
Briar Woods (1-1, 9-4) will look to bounce back when they host Riverside (2-0, 7-1) on September 24 in Ashburn. Stone Bridge (2-0, 4-4) resumes Potomac District play when they host Rock Ridge (0-0, 2-3) on September 26 in Ashburn.
“We just need to keep playing clean and continue to work on minimizing unforced errors,” Raschiatore said. “We’re just going to get better as we get more used to each other.”