Thursday Night Volleyball : On the Road With the Strasburg Rams

MADISON- Strasburg took to the road for their second straight Bull Run District Volleyball match and once again Suzanne Mathias and her Rams passed the latest test with flying colors. Strasburg swept Madison County 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-12) to raise their Bull Run mark to 2-0 (9-2 overall) and the victory came with no shortage of players stepping up to lead the team.

Meghan Gum led the attack from the service line in the opener as the Junior led the Rams from an early 4-2 hole out to a 9-4 lead. Gum collected four points on her own as Madison County was unable to return her serve and fellow Junior Jenna Smoot took care of the other three points with a trio of kills. The most remember able point in the key stretch was a point where Smoot had to go for the kill on the three straight balls as the home team kept digging the ball back into play.

"Jenna was on tonight at the net," Mathias said. "We have to stay on the setters to continue to mix it up so the other team can't start to focus on just one player. It becomes easier to block when they focus on just one player."

The setters followed the instructions well as five different Rams collected at least two kills in game, led by Smoot's six. Stephanie Conde, Bethany Doman, Samantha St. Clair and Lauren Agnew each added two but game one wasn't deceided until Gum went back to the service line.

The Rams lead had been trimmed to 17-14 when Gum started her second run and five points later Strasburg was well on their way to a 25-17 Game One victory.

Madison County (2-10, 0-2) regrouped in game two and began to trade swings with the visiting team. The Mountaineers pulled to within 22-21 late in the contest. There was no panic in the Rams as Agnew, Doman and Conde finished the game with a trio of kills to push the lead to 2-0.

"Our passing there late in the second game started to drop and that allowed them to stay in the game," Mathais added. "This is one of the areas that we will continue to work on the rest of the season."

Strasburg followed their 13 Game 1 kills with 15 more and once again five Rams collected a pair or more during the game. Smoot added 4 more while Doman and Jaclyn Ayers produced three each to lead the attack.

Trailing 2-0, the wind seemed to come out of the sails for Madison County during game 3. While the Mountaineers play slipped a bit in the final game, Strasburg looked to reach a new level of play for the 2008-2009 season. Conde added 3 kills and a block down the stretch for Mathais and Company as the Rams cruised to a 25-12 close out victory.

"Stephanie is getting her hitting back after an injury," Mathais noted. "She has been out for about a week with a shoulder injury and is getting back to the level she can play at."

That is just what the other five coaches in the Bull Run want to hear right now, that the Rams are getting stronger. Smoot (11), Conde (7), Doman (7), Agnew (6) and Ayers (5) are continuing to find a comfort level on the floor and nobody on the Ram squad appeared to be affected by the large and noisy crowd there to support Madison County.

"I honestly think that our team likes the noise and the crowd," Mathais said. "It makes them feel like they are back at home playing in front of our crowd."

Notes: You can't rattle them with noise, can't lock in on just one or even two hitters and five of these young ladies have already experienced a post season run...

"They are starting to get that mesh out there on the floor," Mathais added. "Our success all comes down to them and they do a great job listening to our staff. We wouldn't have the togetherness we have if it wasn't for the trust they have in each other."


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