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Volleyball: Broad Run Stuns No. 5 Loudoun County

Loudoun County owns Dulles District volleyball. Plain and simple. Over the last several seasons, no team within the district other than Heritage has been able to knock off the reigning AA state champions. With the Pride reassigned to the AAA Cedar Run this fall, the schedule was set up for the Raiders to waltz to yet another district title.

Enter Broad Run. The Spartans (7-3, 6-0) came into Tuesday night's battle in Leesburg tied atop the district with Loudoun County, but with a winless mark against the Raiders since 2003, an upset seemed highly unlikely.

And yet Broad Run came out firing, taking a back-and-forth first game and running away with the third. But it took a dramatic rally late in the fifth game for the Spartans to stun their hosts, 26-24, 20-25, 25-17, 18-25, 15-13.

Trailing 12-7 in the decisive fifth game between two 5-0 teams battling for first place, all the momentum and the vast majority of the crowd, was with the Raiders. But behind steady serving from senior libero Lizzie Deane, the Spartans reeled off five consecutive points to knot the game at 12-12. Serving for the win at 14-13, senior Elisa Scudder and sophomore Mallory Brickerd combined on a block that landed on County's side of the net and set off a raucous celebration on the court.

“We were prepared for them, but we weren’t prepared for the explosive power that they were able to bring all the time,” Loudoun County Coach Jenica Matthias said. "They had very few errors, they hit the ball hard, they served tough -- they were on tonight more than we were."

The No. 5 Raiders (12-2, 5-1) came into the match with an eight-match win streak in which they had won all 24 games -- an emphatic response to the team's lone loss on the season in the final of its own invitational to No. 3 Flint Hill.

But in front of a packed house on Dig Pink night, the home team came out flat. After a narrow defeat in the first game, the Raiders rallied from a 13-6 deficit in the second to tie the match. Again they fell behind early and could not recover in the third.

Loudoun County stormed back to take the fourth game and appeared on its way to victory with a 12-7 lead in the fifth before the Spartans rallied back to clinch the match. The loss was only the Raiders' third defeat since 2006.

“To be down 12-7 in the fifth, that’s a big deficit,” Scudder said. “But all the focus and practice just enabled us to overcome, forget the score and play how we know how to play. This was without question, the greatest game we’ve played in my four years at Broad Run.”

The source of that explosiveness was a front line featuring Scudder, Brickerd and junior Emily Sears. Together they combined for 43 kills on the night and always seemed to have an answer for Loudoun County’s runs. The Spartans also got a tremendous effort from Deane (26 digs) who was all over the court, digging, passing and serving her team out of holes down the stretch.

With a significant drop-off between the top two teams in the Dulles and the rest of the pack, it's possible neither team could be tested until the rematch at Broad Run in the season finale on Oct. 29. If the Spartans hold serve against the rest of the district, they would be playing for the first district title not won by the Raiders since 2005.

"This year we finally had that extra oomph to take that win away from them," Broad Run Coach Ellen Roberts said. "We're undefeated now, top of the district, so we need to maintain that focus. Since Heritage isn't part of the district anymore, it's pretty much us and County. The goal is to stay undefeated until we see them again and go from there."

Virginia Roundup
No. 2 Chantilly (13-1) wrapped up its non-district schedule with a 3-0 shutout of T.C. Williams. Since a Sept. 5 loss to No. 3 Flint Hill at the Virginia Volleyball Showcase in Richmond, the Chargers have reeled off eight straight wins, only dropping a single game along the way. They finally begin Concorde District play Thursday night at Westfield.

In an inter-region matchup on Monday night, Battlefield (10-3) scored a huge victory over Northern Region power Robinson, 25-16, 25-19, 29-27. Alyssa Caudle had 27 assists as the Bobcats upended the Rams for the first time in school history. The win was especially sweet for Battlefield Coach Chris Lem, a 1991 graduate of Robinson.

Elsewhere in the Northwest Region, No. 10 Osbourn Park (10-1) enters our rankings this week following a 3-1 victory against AAA Cardinal District rivals Woodbridge on Tuesday. The Yellow Jackets have hammered district opponents and may not face another real test until they visit Forest Park (9-1) on Oct. 20 and then travel to Chancellor on Oct. 28.

By Matt Brooks  |  October 7, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  AA Dulles , Battlefield , Broad Run , Chantilly High School , Loudoun County High School , Volleyball  
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