DALEVILLE — Lord Botetourt’s volleyball team has been rolling toward a potential third straight state championship all season long, easily dispatching their first 26 opponents without dropping a single set.
Thursday night visiting Tunstall had the misfortune of being the latest speed bump in the Region 3D semifinals.
The top-seeded Cavaliers continued their dominant run with a quick 25-16, 25-18, 25-12 straight sets victory over the No. 4 seed Trojans, clinching another berth to the state tournament and setting up a final against rival Hidden Valley in the region title game.
The loss marked the end of a successful season for Trojans head coach Matthew Beard and his team.
“We’re a very good team with a lot of talent, but we would’ve had to play a perfect game to beat [Lord Botetourt] honestly. You really have to play perfect and they have to have an off night,” Beard said. “You have to beat the best to be the best so we would’ve had to meet them eventually.”
Blue Ridge District Player of the Year Miette Veldman led with 12 kills. Ryanna Clark and Taylor Robertson added seven more apiece, and Kenleigh Gunter finished with 10 digs. Jordyn Kepler recorded an impressive 29 assists.
Veldman, who is headed to James Madison next fall, talked about how the increase in the level of competition as the season has progressed has caused her team to improve their play.
“We are still so motivated to get back to the state championship and to try to win again. We really preach taking things game by game though and it’s been fun seeing the team step up as the competition has increased,” Veldman said.
The Cavaliers set the tone for the match right from the jump, reeling off the first seven points. Tunstall was able to battle back to trail just 12-9, but Lord Botetourt quickly reasserted itself behind solid play from Clark and cruised to the 25-16 win.
The teams battled closely throughout the start of the second set and Tunstall trailed just 10-9 midway through, but the Cavaliers again began to slowly constrict the life out of the Trojans. They won six of the next eight points to retake control and rolled to the 25-18 score.
The third set was by far the most dominant for the hosts. The lead stood at just 10-7 before Lord Botetourt won 11 of 12 points to take a commanding 21-8 advantage that would not be relinquished on the way to the 25-12 final.
Blue Ridge District Coach of the Year Julie Conner said it has not been difficult to keep her team focused despite the lack of many close matches to this point.
“This is a group that is just motivated in everything they do. They’re motivated to win another championship; they have that common goal and they get after each other in practice every day,” she said.
“It’s been so fun to watch them grow and progress over the last couple years; it’s a very special group.”
Brooklyn Owen and Cathryn Estes led Tunstall with 10 kills and five kills, respectively, Cassidy Scarce had four digs, and Kinsley Stevens finished with 29 assists in the losing effort.