Leesburg, Va. — Wearing a navy and gold volleyball jersey in southwest Leesburg comes with a certain expectation: you win. Since 2007, the Loudoun County High School varsity volleyball team has been the most dominant program across any high school sport in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Captains are so good, not even a global pandemic has been able to get in their way. After knocking off Tuscarora, Park View, Lightridge, and Dominion to start their 2020-2021 season, the Captains defended their home court by sweeping previously-unbeaten Loudoun Valley—25-12, 25-20, 25-18—on March 15 in Leesburg.
“We passed well, we set well, we hit well,” Loudoun County junior setter Sarah Jordan said. “We’ve been training for the best competition, we saw that with Loudoun Valley, and we showed up tonight.”
The Captains cruised through the first set but the Vikings stuck right by their side through the second, before Loudoun County finally fended them off, 25-20.
“Coach [Carmel] Keilty is a very good coach, she’s been around a long time, and she’s seen it all. Her team plays the way she coaches them, they don’t get frazzled, and they fought the whole night,” Loudoun County head coach John Senchak said. “That’s the strongest team we’ve seen so far; that’s not to take anything away from the teams we’ve played. It was a big test for our team.”
With a 2-0 lead, the Captains did not get complacent, nor, however, did the Vikings give in. Every time it looked like Loudoun County might pull away, Loudoun Valley put an end to a rally.
“They’re a really disciplined team, so we had to focus on our side of the floor and control what we could control,” Loudoun County senior middle Ella Solomon said. “They were able to get us out of system, so we really just had to work together to find some rhythm.”
Then late in the third set, Loudoun County was finally able to put the game away, sweeping the Vikings, to secure sole possession of first place in the Dulles District.
“It’s Loudoun County High School. When they play the game, there’s an expectation that they play it well,” Senchak said. “They don’t shrink from that responsibility; they embrace it.”
And while there is a winning culture at Loudoun County, it’s important to remember that despite their dominance over the last 15 years, the Captains are still high school student-athletes, all of whom are just super excited to be back out on the court, representing Loudoun County High School with their teammates.
“We have a lot of chemistry, we’re a tight-knit group, and we’re playing for each other,” Jordan said. “Our goal this year is to play together, because we can’t do it without each other.”