There was no dramatic dogpile, no wild celebration.
Madison County volleyball briefly shouted, shook hands with Luray and started taking down the net like they’d just won a game in September.
If you didn’t know the stakes, it was hard to tell, but the business-like Mountaineers had just swept Luray 3-0 to clinch a spot in the Class 2 state tournament and the Region 2B championship.
“It is really exciting but the work isn’t done yet,” said Madison sophomore captain Lindsay McDaniel. “We can’t have a repeat of last year with an exciting moment — now we’ve got to work harder and finish it off.”
The Mountaineers will face East Rockingham in the Region 2B championship game Wednesday night, a rematch of last week’s Bull Run District title clash where Madison prevailed.
Last year the Mountaineers took a 2-0 lead in the state semifinals against Poquoson and then lost 3-2 when the Islanders surged. The clinching moment Tuesday night isn’t about winning the next game or being happy to be there for the Mountaineers — Madison is intent on making a run.
“They are very focused this year,” said coach Carrie Hardy. “They’re chasing goals, they didn’t like how last year ended, it was a heartbreaker. They’re ready for some revenge.”
It didn’t come completely easy though. Luray jumped out to an 8-3 lead in game one and quite suddenly, the Mountaineers were on their heels a little bit after sweeping Luray twice in the regular season. It was a slow start that has become a little bit typical for Madison, but the Mountaineers roaring back has become pretty typical too.
“We always pick each other up on the court and energy is a big component but point-by-point, pass-by-pass we’ve got to get that kill,” Butters said.
Madison got on track though, and a few minutes later, it was 10-10. Madison eventually closed the game at 25-20, following that with a 25-21 win and a 25-18 win to finish off the sweep.
“We like to give everybody in the stands first and then we play Madison volleyball,” Hardy said. “It takes us a little bit to get going sometimes, we’re a young crew.”
Abi Tanner and Sarah Bevins each had nine kills to lead the Madison attack with Tanner also notching eight digs. Frances Sukley had a well-rounded night at setter with 28 assists, four kills and 11 digs. McDaniel led the defense with 15 digs while also chipping in six kills. Margaret Butters had five kills and four digs, Lizzie Burbridge had five kills and 11 digs and Mila Myers finished with three kills and nine digs.
McDaniel’s performance was critical to keeping the Mountaineers on track when they were struggling early as she managed to get a number of key attacks up off the floor.
“She’s awesome honestly, she’s always there, she can read the court really well,” Bevins said. “I’m really proud of Lindsay and happy to have her as one of our captains, she’s a very good leader.”
The Mountaineers will face East Rockingham Wednesday and the result of that region title game will determine what Madison faces Saturday in the state quarterfinals.