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Big Matchups Kickoff Volleyball Season

While preseason play in some sports is about finding rhythm, establishing roles and working out the kinks before the start of the regular season, several of the areas top high school volleyball teams are pulling out all the stops this fall, scheduling some of the best competition around for the lead up to district play.

The result: numerous blockbuster matchups in the first few weeks of the season that could shed some light on several tight district races and playoff scenarios down the stretch.

Wednesday night featured two tantalizing matchups between four of Northern Virginia's top teams and both were well worth the price of admission.

Flint Hill played host to Chantilly in a contest between two teams that finished the season ranked in the top seven of The Post poll last fall.

Despite having only seven days of practice, the Huskies held their own against the reigning AAA Northern Region champions, taking the first game by two points. But the Chargers -- who have back the bulk of last season's 22-1 state semifinalist squad -- showed why they're the trendy pick to take the state title in 2009, sweeping the next three games to clinch the victory, 24-26, 27-25, 25-23, 25-18.

Second team All-Met junior outside hitter Marilyn Peizer had 23 kills to lead the Huskies and junior Potomac Falls transfer Tori Janowski (Hon. Men. All-Met) added 10 kills and 24 assists.

With that pair leading this group, Flint Hill has a great shot to repeat as Virginia Independent School Division I State champions and should challenge for the City Championship once again.

The Huskies (0-1) visit another tough AAA Concorde District school Tuesday when they take on Centreville and their brutal stretch to open the season continues Saturday the 12th when they compete in Loudoun County's tournament against James Wood, Robinson and the defending AA state champion Raiders.

Speaking of Loudoun County, the Raiders continued their dominance by rolling through the field at the Surebet Invitational at Sherando on Wednesday. Behind solid efforts from senior outside hitter Juliane Hanna (1st Team All-State) and senior setter Robin Marsala, County knocked off Kettle Run in four games (25-8, 16-25, 25-13, 25-13) and swept past the host Warriors (25-17, 25-10, 25-19). That set up a showdown with Stone Bridge - who also won its first two contests - in the nightcap.

Behind Hanna's 14 kills and 8 digs and 11 kills to go along with five blocks from senior Emily Vandegrift, the Raiders came away with a 3-0 sweep, but all of the games were decided by four points or fewer. The three match sweep extended County's winning streak to 12, and they've now won 88 of 92 matches dating back to the 2006 season.

In three matches, junior outside hitter Christine Beckham tallied 37 kills junior setter Amanda Miller had 97 assists senior libero Lindsay Gill picked up 62 digs for Bulldogs (3-1), who claimed the AAA Liberty District crown last season. They get another stiff test Tuesday in the form of the Herndon Hornets.

The big matchups continue in the coming weeks as teams gear up for the regular season. If you're looking to catch some top flight action, check out the matches listed below. And check back next week for a full preview of the 2009 volleyball season in Virginia, Maryland and the District in your Post sports section.

Upcoming Contests
9/3 - Chantilly at West Springfield
9/8 - Yorktown at Westfield
9/8 - Herndon at Stone Bridge
9/10 - South County at Chantilly
9/12 - Flint Hill at Loudoun County

By Matt Brooks  |  September 3, 2009; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  AAA Concorde District , AAA Liberty District , Chantilly High School , Flint Hill School , Loudoun County High School , Stone Bridge High School , Volleyball  | Tags: Flint Hill School, Loudoun County High School, Stone Bridge High School, Volleyball  
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