Saturday, October 25, 2008

Strasburg's Kaitlin Smoot and VT Club Volleyball

Team meeting before the match
My apologies to Chris on the blurry effort on this one.

Proud Papa working his camera at the debut

Pretty sure that Kaitlin loved having Mom in town

Kaitlin with Chris and his parents

With Mom & Dad right after the 3RD of the 3 Sweeps

VT Varsity Swim Team at a meet a few feet down

Some pics of the Grounds at Va Tech

Love the look @ VT - A bit like the buildings @ Duke...

Mr. & Mrs. John Lloyd were in town for Parents week end . Two VT Grads down to see their daughter. John catches a break by managing for USA Today - with no week end edition he gets to stay for the entire week end!

The site for the Club Tourney

Oh, wait - I know the lady behind the sign too! Linda was able to make the trip down after getting back from Seattle.

Kaitlin (#2) waiting for her next shot to play in the Match.
Kaitlin closed out the final win over UVA by scoring the final 2 points from the service line!

Mr. Smoot and Kaitlin between matches. Priceless.

Day 1 in the Books for the Va. Tech Orange Team (A-Team) and their mark stands at 3-0/6-0 with sweeps over George Mason, Wytheville Community College and the A-Team from UVA.
Day 2 action will be single elimination beginning at 9:00 A.M.

Friday Night Football : R.E Lee claims Southern Valley Championship

LEXINGTON- R.E Lee (9-1, 4-0) repeated as Champs of the 2-year old Class AA Southern Valley District Friday night with a dominating 26-6 victory over Rockbridge County . The Leeman's Dae' Quan Scott returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and his team never looked back on a cold and rainy night.
Wes (pictured aboved) saved our ESPN broadcast by driving down from Staunton with the missing equipment!
Scott would suffer a shoulder injury on the third play from scrimmage and not return but the defending champions simply suffocated their hosts for the entire 48 minutes. R.E Lee had their first drive go for 21 plays and take 11:07 off the clock and their defense and special teams took over after that...

More later-

Shenadoah District:

Riverheads 21, Luray 7
Wilson Memorial 38 Page County 0
Buffalo Gap 37, Stonewall Jackson 0

Southern Valley District :

R.E Lee 26, Rockbridge 6
Waynesboro - Idle
Stuarts Draft-40 Ft. Defiance- 20

Massanutten District:

Harrisonburg-32 Turner Ashby 7
Spotswood-20 Broadway 7

CNU Captains trip up Bridgewater College 3-1 on Senior Night

NEWPORT NEWS- Bridgewater (20-7) stepped outside of the ODAC Friday night when the Lady Eagles traveled down to Hampton Roads for a match with Christopher Newport. Not sure if the long bus ride slowed down BC in the opener as the Captains took Game 1 by a 25-14 score. BC rebounded nicely to take game #2 by a 29-27 score but dropped the final two games by identical 25-20 scores.

The web site for CNU has as much stat info as I have ever seen for a VB match and you can check it out at . The Lady Eagles return home for a final home match next week vs. Mary Baldwin College and close out their regular season at Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg.

Katie Baker and Brittney Whittmer each scored 8 kills Friday while Mandy Hill tallied nine and Erika Dirnagl led the BC attack with 11. Setter Tricia Davis collected 37 assists for the match.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Senior Night in Strasburg - Class of 2008-2009

Matt trying to sneak in some family time on a Busy Night
Just a couple of the hard working folks at SHS

The Wheaties Box from Last Season

More hugs, this time for Coach Mason

Just about to play Volleyball- But not before Mr.D lets out 1 more "We Are"

Mr. Doman with a hug for Coach Mathias

Group shot of all 3 young ladies and their families...

Bethany with Mom & Dad

Flowers and gifts filled the night

Rebecca and Shannon with their Mothers...

Friday Night Lights - Week #10 - Road Trip to Lexington : R.E Lee @ Rockbridge County

LURAY - R.E Lee (8-1,3-0) head south on I-81 tonight for a game in Lexington vs. Rockbridge County (6-2,2-0) and we will be tagging along. The ESPN-1240 Augusta County High School Game of the Week will make a rare trip across the county line tonight as the Leeman hope to claim the Southern Valley District Championship.

Jim Sacco will be joining us for the Tail Gate show which gets under way at 6:30 P.M. but there will be a twist tonight. Chip Crabill called early this morning to let me know that tonight we will be on Top of the Press Box instead of inside of it. I guess I can't complain because I was the one that said- "Wouldn't it be cool to go down to Rockbridge for the big game?"

Just checked the Yahoo weather forecast for Lexington tonight and "Cool" might not be my word of choice anymore! The question will be what time does the rain storm blow in to town?.

R.E Lee can claim the Crown outright with a win tonight but the Wildcats would need to defeat both R.E Lee and then Stuarts Draft next week to finish in the top spot. Both teams are looking solid for the post season as Lee is second in Region 3 Division 3 behind Brookville while Rockbridge County is 3RD in Region 3 Division 4.

The Class AA format has the top six teams (of 10) from each division advancing. The top two get a first round bye while 3 faces 6 and 4 faces 5 in the opening round. Class A has 4 teams advance from both Region B division 1 & 2. The spots are a bit tougher to come by in Class A as 12 teams are competing for just 4 spots.

Here is a quick look at where our Valley teams sit in the rankings as we head down the home stretch:

Class A - Region B - Division 1
Buffalo Gap is 3RD at 20.0
Riverheads is 4TH at 17.9
Luray is 6TH at 15.1
Stonewall Jackson is 8TH at 13.4
Page County is 12TH at 11.0

Luray (4-3) is at Riverheads (5-2) tonight in a game that will go a long way for helping the winner advance to the post season. Luray has won 4 straight and now faces the 3 Augusta County Schools, needing to win a minimum of 2 of the 3.

Clarke County is 2ND in Region B - Division 2 and looks to be in great shape. Wilson Memorial is currently 9TH and Strasburg is 12TH.

Class AA -Region 3 - Division 3 : (Top 6 Advance)

R.E Lee (2ND)
Stuarts Draft (5TH)
Waynesboro (9TH)
Ft. Defiance (10TH)

Class AA - Region 3 - Division 4 : (Top 6 Advance)

Turner Ashby - 2ND
Rockbridge Co -3RD
Harrisonburg- 5TH
Broadway - 7TH
Spotswood - 8TH

Bill Meade's Page News & Courier picks for the week look like this:


Luray (4-3) @ Riverheads (5-2)
Page County (2-5) @ Wilson Memorial (2-5)
Stonewall Jackson (3-4) @ Buffalo Gap (7-0)
Turner Ashby (6-2) @ Harrisonburg (-)


Georgia (6-1) @ LSU (5-1)
Va Tech (5-2) @ Florida State (5-1)
Virginia (4-3) @ Georgia Tech (6-1)
Penn State (8-0) @ Ohio State (7-1)


Washington (5-2) @ Detroit (0-6)
New York Giants (5-1) @ Pittsburgh (5-1)
San Diego (3-4) @ New Orleans (3-4)
Atlanta (4-2) @ Philadelphia (3-3)

Saturday & Sunday Volleyball : Virginia Tech Womens Club Team Tournament

BLACKSBURG - Strasburg's Kaitlin Smoot will be making her Virginia Tech Club Volleyball debut this week end as a member of the Orange squad in the VT Volleyball tournament. I was hoping to have some more details by now but here is what I do know:

The event will take place at the War Memorial Gym and the current list of teams sits at 24. Both the Orange team and the Maroon team will represent VT and they will be joined by James Madison, Pitt, Appy State and UVA plus many more. West Virginia, UNC-Charlotte, Georgetown and Penn State will be playing in Blacksburg as well.

Play is set to start early Saturday morning and we will post for info when it becomes available...

Best of Luck to Kaitlin and her Orange team !

Wilson clinches Shenandoah, Strasburg caps off 2ND straight Bull Run 10-0 mark

STRASBURG - Luray (8-2) took care of their half of the plan to share the Shenandoah District Title when the Bulldogs rallied for a 3-2 (22-25, 25-11,23-25, 25-19 and 15-8) victory at Buffalo Gap but Wilson would not be denied.

The Green Hornets (9-1) spoiled Senior Night at Stonewall Jackson (5-5) with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17,25-16) sweep over the Generals. Both Districts begin their post season Tourneys next week before moving on to Region B play.

Strasburg (10-0) defeated Rappahannock County 3-1 at home Thursday night and now both of the top two seeds will have 1ST round byes as will Wilson and Luray...

More to come - including pics...

Catching up with the Kritter Family @ Strasburg

Mom and Dad with middle daughter Danika after the Rapp-Ram match
This one includes the youngest of the 3 Volleyball sisters- Josie. Josie and her team has a big match Friday back at Rapp, where they will play for the Championship!

Mr. Kritter chatting with Ram Head Coach Suzanne Mathias after the match.

Danika spent this summer playing for FJVC out of Fredricksburg and her team made it all the way to Nationals. The tourney was played in Dallas, Texas and FJVC finished #13. The team consisted of 9 girls from 7 High Schools and there wins came against teams from California, Texas and Ohio. Danika is finishing her second season on Varsity while older sister Elena is nearing the end of her Freshman season at Lynchburg College.

Looking forward to seeing the family again down at Hollins College for the ODAC tournament.You can get the latest on Elena by visiting . The have team info and updated stats as well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Volleyball Week Continues : Strasburg Senior Night Part II

STRASBURG- Senior night at Strasburg last year was without a doubt the evening I would give credit for this site being here today. I had spent the majority of the season covering Coach Suzanne Mathias and her Ram VB team but something changed that night just before the match.

The ceremony for the seven remarkable young ladies was soooo much more important than the fact that the team was going to sweep another opponent on their way to an UN-defeated season in the Bull Run District.

Kaitlin Smoot, Katie Baker, Jo Owens, Cassidy Weitman, Lyndsey Funkhouser, Britanee Hodson and Kayln Warner took the floor with their families. The ceremony was not different from most Senior Night ceremonies, just different for me. The fact that Strasburg would sweep George Mason 3-0 (25-10, 25-12, and 25-8) seemed to be irrelevant to me as a person but I tried to remember that I wasn't there as a person but as a Sports Writer.

As hard as I tried, I couldn't separate out the two and I knew it was time to Follow the Story and Not the game. I gave each of the 7 seniors an opportunity to share how much they meant to each other after the match and we stayed until all 7 had finished their thoughts. I remember walking out of the Gym that night thinking this is an amazing story and someone should write a book about it.

While my Father being in the Military afforded me to travel around the country and then my newspaper (Circulation) experience allowed me to travel everywhere I have ever wanted to go, there was always something missing. Been to all 50 states, lived in 18 of them and added a few choice foreign countries but these 7 young ladies had something more special then any of that. They were from somewhere and had been together K-12!

They shared stories about memories of when they were 5 and 6 years old. I did not know that part of the story until Katie's and Kaitlin's Mothers shared it with me. The fact that the VB team didn't lose a game was never the story, the community and the family environment was the story in my eyes. But that is a story that you can't tuck into a gamer with 500 words or less.

The story did become a book and the memory is one I will hold onto forever. A book about the relationship between a Parent and a Child from the Dad and Daughter that put in on paper to Coach Mathias and her joy for Mrs. Mathais to make the trip down to Richmond for the State Finals. The Baker's and the Smoot's, the large crowds that filled the gym EVERY night the Rams played.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the book - everybody that ever picked up a pen was in search of the Perfect Story- and I had found mine in a tiny community who loved their town and everything about it. The joy of writing about any topic you choose gives you two perks. The first one is you never find yourself writing about something you don't believe in and #2- you might find out that there are really special people out there with a story to share.

This year the Strasburg seniors are Bethany Doman, Rebecca Coffman and Shanna Devers. Tonight will be their night and I hope it is as special for them as it was for the Class of 2008!

Pictures from Wednesday Night at Bridgewater College

From top to Bottom :
1. Check out the price of gas
2. Proud parents of Tricia Davis and Katie Baker

3. The glassed Eagle that protects the trophy case.

4. Two of the many awards the VB program had received.

5. The ODAC banners hanging from the rafters.

6. The Eagle at center court...

Greetings from New Market's Johnny Appleseeds: Talkin Volleyball Around the Valley

NEW MARKET- "Well, beat the drum and hold the phone- the sun came out today"
We are born again, there is new grass on the field
A-roundin third, and headed for home, it's a brown eyed handsome man;
Anyone can understand the way I feel
Oh, put me in coach, I am ready to play today;
Put me in, coach - I am ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be center field......

Now after reading the lines from John Fogerty's "Put me in Coach", you might be wondering the connection to Bridgewater College's Volleyball Match last night against the Quakers of Guilford College. We were in the lobby of the Gym waiting for Coach Spector and the Lady Eagles to finish a post game meeting when Mrs. Davis (Tricia's Mom) brought up the song and the next line.

Flash back to Saturday morning down at Sweet Briar where Mrs. Davis was kind enough to share some VB scoring thoughts with me. After that, I figured the least I could do was answer the question at hand.

BC made quick work of the visiting team Wednesday night in a match that looked a bit like an inter squad scrimmage as both schools played in Maroon uniforms. The scores went 25-9,25-14 and 25-21 as the Lady Eagles made it 7 of their last eight matches to secure the teams 20TH victory for 1ST year Coach Greg Spector.

BC has three more matches over the next 10 days before heading down to Hollins (Roanoke) for the ODAC tournament (Nov. 7 & 8) . The final home match takes place next Thursday at 6:30 PM against Mary Baldwin.

The ODAC standings prior to last night looked like this:

1.Washington & Lee (9-0/23-4), 1. Randolph-Macon (9-0,21-5), 3. Roanoke (7-3,22-3),
4.Virginia Wesleyan (6-3,17-9), 5. Bridgewater College (5-4,19-6), 6.Emory & Henry (4-4,17-6),
7. Lynchburg (3-5,14-12),8. Guilford (2-6,5-20), 9. Randolph (2-7,7-19), 10. Sweet Briar (1-8,6-19), 11. EMU (0-7,4-18)...

Thursday night will be full of High School Volleyball matches as the Class AA Northwest District has their tourney in full swing and both of the Class A Districts (Bull Run & Shenandoah) play their final regular season matches.

Senior night ceremonies for Strasburg, Stonewall Jackson, Riverheads and Buffalo Gap...

Bridgewater College VB : Coach Spector and the Lady Eagles earn 20TH Win on season

BRIDGEWATER- BC improved their record on the season to 20-6 with a 3-0 sweep over visiting Guilford College Wednesday night at Niniger Hall. The Lady Eagles are now 6-4 in the highly competitive ODAC while Guilford falls to 5-21 and 2-7.

I will be back in a bit with some pics from the night and notes on the match...

Congrats to Head Coach Greg Spector, assistant Matt Maynard and all of the Lady Eagles!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Big Night of Volleyball Coverage in our Valley...

LURAY -Just after the start of the 1ST game last night down at Wilson Memorial I had to crack a smile. Luray and WMHS were playing a regular season Class A volleyball match and there were a slew of folks there connected to the press. You can go on line right now to either or and see both game stories and photos from the action last night. From the Luray side you can go and pick up a copy of this weeks Page News and Courier and see the same!

Jim Sacco was in the gym as well and you can read his colorful views about the match at his blog site connected to the News Virginian. The Daily Pooch Punt is full over antidotes about the match. How solid was the coverage of the match ? Solid enough that it was easier for me to cover the coverage, then to right more about the Wilson victory.

The great coverage doesn't stop there. Tonight is the start of the World Series and if you pick up a copy of the Northern Virginia Daily you will see a High School Volleyball story sitting above the AP story on the Series. The story is about a play-in game for the Northwest District tournament about to begin. Solid local coverage about the young ladies playing Class A and Class AA volleyball across our Valley.

Our good friend Chuck McGill is the Sports Editor at the NVD as well as being a long time Tampa Bay Rays fan and Chuck made my night last night. After finishing his C1 page (Main page of the Sports section) he let me know that I might enjoy reading the TB story today. A couple of weeks ago I had written a column on the help from above that the Devil-less Rays had received this season after the name change.

I am sure I wasn't the first one to think about it, just happened to take the time to write about
before on a alot of folks did. The story sitting below the VB story in the NVD was an AP story on that very subject. The Devil Rays had spent their entire existence wondering around lost in life and then they saw the Light.

The very year of the name change led a team from never having a winning record all of the way to the World Series. If they go on to win the Series then someone should give Disney a call so they can make a sequel to Angles in the Outfield. Chuck will be having fun on Thursday night when his WVU eleven play Auburn at home at the same time his Rays are taking the diamond down at the Trop. If that wasn't fun enough, he will be celebrating his Birthday as well...

Happy Birthday Chuck !

Shaun Cox was there from the News-Leader and he asked me a question about switching from Baseball to Volleyball. Shaun wrote a story for our promotion (Around The Valley) right after he relocated to the Valley from Kentucky and our paths haven't crossed much since then. I had to let him know that it was Volleyball before baseball and has been for a while. How true is that statement?

Tonight when John Leonard's Fightin Phils take on Chuck McGill's Devil-less Rays, I will be right in the middle of the action. The VB action that is, over at Bridgewater College where the Lady Eagles will be hosting Guilford in an ODAC match. Before you want to have me committed I am not saying that the level of play of a D-III volleyball match rivals the mad skills of the MLB players. To borrow a thought from a dear friend, Teresa Wease, there is so much more to life than a game being played.

The ladies in the gym tonight over at BC are student athletes and the fans in the stands are either fellow students or family members that are there to cheer them on. That alone is a great story and one that I will always find the time to try and tell. So if you are in the Valley tonight and looking for a sporting event to watch just take Exit-240 off of I-81 and make your way to the campus. There is no admission charge for the match and the concession stand will be open.

You will have a chance to watch Katie Baker (Strasburg-pictured above), Candice Guy (Wilson Memorial) and Erika Dirnagl (Sherando) taking sets all evening from Tricia Davis. This is the next to last home match for BC this season, with next Thursday wrapping up the home portion of the schedule.

Hope to see you Court Side!

Tuesday Volleyball : Big Names on Press Row down in Fishersville!

Left to right - Robert Sisk, Bill Meade and Jim Sacco
Turns out that Bill and Jim are old friends from Bill's days in Augusta County
Hey - Cool Badge there Mr. Sisk
Check out Robert's gamer at
Ms. Kala Guy being interviewed after the Big Win
News-Leader's Shaun T. Cox was working hard as well
Kala and Robert still rehashing the 3-0 sweep
Head Coach Kim Claytor is always a fun visit and I will share my notes later...
Mr. Turner (Amber's Dad) visiting with Bill
Now this fella looks kinda serious....