Leesburg, Va. — It’s well documented that the Loudoun County High School volleyball team is one of the most dominant sports programs in VHSL history, and their reign on top doesn’t seem to be slowing down. It came as no surprise, when for the thirteenth time in fourteen years, the Lady Raiders claimed the region championship, 3-0.
Led by all-district first teamers Hannah Prendergast and Chandler Vaughan and the Dulles District Player of the Year Olivia Mallow, Loudoun County fended off a valiant effort by James Wood to claim the VHSL Region 4C title on November 13 in Leesburg.
“Loudoun County always has a couple players where you say ‘wow, that’s impressive,’” Loudoun County head coach John Senchak said. “Not to take anything away from the talent of our girls this year, but this is a really well-balanced team. There’s talent through the entire lineup.”
After surging to a first set win, 25-15, the Lady Raiders needed to dig into their depth when the Colonels tested them in the second. A back-and-forth second set ended with a late Loudoun County rally, 25-16.
“Our bench is so deep. Our coach is able to put anyone in, and we’re able to step up and perform,” Mallow said. “This is a really good team, so I’m excited to see where we go.”
When it looks as though the reigning region champs could put it on cruise control, James Wood through one more effort at Loudoun County in the third. Trailing 21-19, however, the Lady Raiders scored four unanswered points to retake the lead, 23-21. That lead was short-lived as the Colonels scored two in a row to even things back out at 23-23. Just when they needed in most, Loudoun County’s experience paid off as they scored the final two points to win the set, 25-23, and the match, 3-0.
“James Wood is a wonderful team. They just keep getting stronger,” Senchak said. “This was not easy. It was a lot of hard work. James Wood made a lot of adjustments. We had to keep up with them. They fought beginning to end. So it feels really great to win the region championship.”
You got to survive, and there’s nothing but good teams left. We’re just going to continue playing Raider volleyball.
—Loudoun County head coach John Senchak
Both the Colonels and Lady Raiders earned berths to the VHSL 4A State tournament, where Loudoun County will look to win their eighth consecutive state championship and improve on their VHSL record eleven total state titles.
“You got to survive, and there’s nothing but good teams left,” Senchak said. “We’re just going to continue playing Raider volleyball.”