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Virginia Volleyball Notebook

A version of this ran in today's Volleyball Notebook, but here's your extended, all Virginia edition...

A Shakeup at Setter

Coming off the school’s first Independent School League regular season and tournament titles, expectations were higher than ever at Flint Hill heading into the 2009 season. But the graduation of All-Met setter Christie Fellows left a huge void in the middle of the Huskies’ attack.

To free up standout transfer Tori Janowski to help lead an explosive offense, Coach Carrol Anderson shifted junior middle hitter Taylor Nelson to the primary setter role, and despite her relative inexperience at the position, Nelson hasn’t skipped a beat.

Tuesday, facing a Westfield team fresh off a big win over then-No. 2 Chantilly, Nelson emphatically extinguished the Bulldogs’ upset bid by reeling off nine straight service points to start the match. With strong performances from Janowski (12 kills, 9 assists, 6 digs, 5 aces) and junior outside hitter Marilyn Peizer (12 kills), the No. 2 Huskies rolled to their sixth straight win and a fifth consecutive sweep, 25-9, 25-16, 25-10. Nelson – who does not possess an overpowering serve but used placement to baffle Westfield’s back line – finished with 16 assists, seven aces, two kills and 21 service points won. Her six-point serving run closed out the match.

“We didn’t know what we were going to do when we lost Christie,” Anderson said. “We knew Taylor had good hands and she said she’d try it. Now you see her and it’s hard to believe she never set before this season. Tori’s a great setter, but we definitely want to take advantage of her hitting ability and Taylor stepping in that role has enabled us to do that.”

Since a season-opening loss to Chantilly, the Huskies (21-2) have stormed through a challenging schedule, losing just once to Cape Henry and dropping only ten total games. They have four regular season matches remaining before the postseason – where they’re primed to make another run at the ISL, city and Virginia Independent School Division I state titles.

“They’re an awesome team,” Westfield Coach Jim Bour said. “They have great hitters, they pass the ball well and their serving is incredible. They really picked us apart. They just keep coming at you and that’s very had to stop.”

Showdown Looming in Cardinal District

Osbourn Park continued its stellar season to date with a strong showing in a weekend double-header at Mills Godwin. Led by junior middle hitter Aricquel Payne’s 13 kills on 22 attempts and 8 blocks, the Yellow Jackets (14-1) handled their hosts in four games and then got past Deep Run in a highly competitive, five-game contest. Since an Oct. 3 loss at Loudoun Valley, Osbourn Park has won five straight and remains unbeaten in the AAA Cardinal District at 8-0.

“We have a lot of depth and I think that’s going to be a key for us down the stretch,” Coach Michelle Blue said. “We don’t always have to go to one person to get the kill, we have lots of girls on the floor that can put the ball away.”

District rival Forest Park has done its best to keep pace since a Sept. 24 sweep in Manassas, reeling off seven wins in a row and dropping only three games in the process. The Bruins (13-1) made the trip down to Richmond with the Yellow Jackets and dispatched the same two opponents by identical scores. Blue knows the Bruins have been eagerly awaiting Tuesday’s rematch at Forest Park.

“They’re certainly going to be gunning for us,” Blue said. “We played almost a perfect match against them the first time. I’m expecting a more even match this time, but if we can get out of there in three, we’ll take that, too.”

What to Watch

As district's wrap up their regular seasons, there are plenty of big matchups coming up. Here are a few we'll be watching...

Thursday 10/15
No. 3 Chantilly at No. 10 Robinson
Langley at No. 6 Stone Bridge
Loudoun Valley at Battlefield

Tuesday 10/20
No. 9 Osbourn Park at Forest Park
No. 10 Robinson at Oakton
Heritage at Loudoun Valley

Wednesday 10/21
No. 6 Stone Bridge at Yorktown

Thursday 10/22
Oakton at No. 3 Chantilly

By Matt Brooks  |  October 15, 2009; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Cardinal District , Flint Hill School , Forest Park , ISL AA , Osbourn Park , Volleyball  
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