Lady Vandals Complete Undefeated District Season With Sweep of Brownsboro
VAN -- The 11th-ranked Van Lady Vandals have rolled through the regular season, and Tuesday night's finale went according to script.
Van racked up 22 aces from the service line and cruised to a 25-7, 25-9, 25-16 sweep of Brownsboro to complete its first undefeated district season since 2008.
The Lady Vandals finished the regular season with a 35-3 overall record and a perfect 10-0 mark in District 15-3A.
"It's a huge, huge step for us in what great progress we've made since that good team in 2008," Van coach Kristen Reaves said. "I'm very proud of the girls, they've worked really hard and they deserve it."
Van receives a first-round bye and will await the winner of a bi-district match between the second-place team from 14-3A and the third-place finisher in 13-3A. Van's first playoff match will take place Nov. 1.
"Teamwork and communication," Reaves said when asked about the keys to Van's success this season. "If we don't have that, then we don't play well. And we've worked really hard in practice on talking and communicating and just playing as a team. I think that's our biggest strength -- teamwork and playing together."
Senior Haley McCarty led the barrage from the service line with 13 aces to go with her six kills. Junior setter Morgan Wilkerson contributed six aces and 21 assists.
"Serving was key for us," Reaves said. "I told the girls after the first game, 'serving, that's what won us that first game and to keep it up.' And they did, they kept serving tough and did a great job."
Sophomore Bri Thompson led Van's attack with eight kills, while Susannah Wisdom, Hallee Carter and Rebekah Rogers combined for 12 kills on the night.
It didn't take long for Van's serving prowess to shine as McCarty served three consecutive aces to begin the match's opening game. Van later opened a 9-1 advantage, helped along by a pair of Wilkerson aces and kills from Thompson and Rogers. McCarty later hammered down a pair of kills in 5-0 run that pushed Van's lead to 20-5.
McCarty served 10 consecutive points early in Game 2, helping Van to an insurmountable 11-1 lead. Six of McCarty's 13 aces occured during the 11-0 run.
Brownsboro briefly led the third game, 4-2, but Van scored eight of the game's next points to take control of the set.
"I think (we) played really well," Reaves said. "Brownsboro put up a hard fight, but we were ready to come out and win that last one and finish undefeated. They wanted it really bad."
While Van hasn't been challenged for most of the year, Reaves said there are a few things her teams needs to improve upon for the playoffs.
"We definitely want to get better at moving our feet," she said. "That's definitely a weak point for us. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't. We just need to be consistent with moving our feet and be on our toes and be ready to move the whole time. I think everywhere else we're pretty good. We just need to maintain and progress at it."