WAYNESBORO — Surviving two close sets against neighboring Waynesboro, the Stuarts Draft volleyball team cruised through the third set, defeating the Little Giants 25-22, 26-24, 25-10 Thursday night.
After escaping a hotly-contested opening set, the Cougars dug themselves into a big hole in the second set, trailing 15-7 as the youthful and pesky Little Giants looked to pull an upset.
Waynesboro raced away, breaking a 4-4 tie as the Draft made uncharacteristic errors.
A kill and a block by sophomore Alexandra Kennedy and an ace by sophomore libero Maryssa Jones gave the Little Giants the commanding eight-point advantage before the visitors staged a dramatic comeback which was completed after the Cougars scored the final three points of the set on a Danielle Brenneman kill, a Waynesboro hitting error and a set-point kill by Rendy Dressler.
Taking Waynesboro’s momentum away carried over into an easy third set, where Brenneman and fellow senior Deborah Black put on an attacking display at the net, while the Draft defense dug up nearly every Waynesboro hit.
“We got down but we picked each other up,” Brenneman said. “I was happy with the way we were able to fight back. I think we have the potential to go far.”
For the relatively shorter and younger Little Giants, head coach Lori Aleshire was pleased with the fight that her team showed against a much more experienced club.
“It was pleasing to see how we battled in the first two sets,” Aleshire said. “We’re really young and our youth showed in the third set.”
The two shortest players on the court led the Little Giants as sophomores Kathryn Potts and Maryssa Jones had 11 and 10 digs respectively. Their only senior, setter Tamarah Jackson, had 23 assists and junior Lauren Kelso led the Waynesboro hitters with 14 kills.
“We didn’t fold on each other when we got down,” said Stuarts Draft head coach Michelle Kirby. “We’re still figuring out a new rotation after our libero Faith Shirley was hurt in Tuesday’s match. I would like to see us stay consistent with our passing.”
Kirby was also pleased with the Cougars serving accuracy as they missed only four serves in the match.
For Stuarts Draft, who plays Waynesboro and Fort Defiance again next week, Brenneman led at the net with 16 kills with Black adding 10. Sophomore Makaila Napier served four aces, while senior Madison Chestnut assisted on 21 points.
The Draft junior varsity won in two sets.