Buckingham Sweeps CHS To Finish Second In JRD

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

CUMBERLAND – The Battle of Route 60 usually features Cumberland's Blue and Gold colors facing off against Buckingham's Green and Gold, but Tuesday night's volleyball match had a much different hue, as both teams donned pink in an effort to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer.

The colors may have been different, but the result was the same, as Buckingham came away with a rare three-match sweep of Cumberland, winning 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-15) to claim second in the James River District standings, entering next week's JRD Tournament.

“We definitely needed to play well tonight heading into the tournament,” said BCHS head coach Ethan Abruzzo, whose team clinched the second spot in next week's tournament over Central of Lunenburg by virtue of a tiebreaker. “We needed a win tonight to get the home game against Central next week, and we were able to get it. Overall, I thought we played well.”

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The scene was obviously a different one across the net, after Cumberland had twice come close to knocking off Buckingham earlier in the season (once in a non-district match), before getting swept on Tuesday night.

“This one hurts,” said CHS head coach Heather Storrie. “I wanted it so badly for the girls, but that's not how the cards fell. Every time we leave the court, we're a better team, and tonight's no exception. I guess one bright spot, in a way, is to see that losing still hurts us.”

The first two sets were closer than the final scores would indicate. Buckingham used late runs to pull away. In the first set, BCHS used the size and athletic advantage of middle hitter Sarah Frazier down the stretch. Up 17-15, Frazier registered two consecutive kills to give the Lady Knights a 19-15 lead. Up 23-17, an ace by BC libero Taylor Hudgins cemented the contest for Buckingham.

Cumberland held a lead in much of the second set. A kill by Maddie Sullivan helped the Lady Dukes gain a 14-13 lead, before a service error by Cumberland knotted the set at 14 apiece. That set up Buckingham's Michaela Leatherwood, who rattled off 10 consecutive points to put the match away.

“Michaela served well in that stretch,” said Abruzzo. “She wasn't overpowering, but she got the ball in, and let the team do its job. We haven't put together many runs like that this year, and it was nice to get one. The biggest key to getting a run like that is to get the serve in play, and I feel that run set the tone for the remainder of the night.”

Cumberland didn't go away easily. Senior Heather Fowler registered a couple of kills early-on, as the Lady Dukes stayed close. However, up 12-10, Buckingham rattled off six straight points to put the match out of reach.

Frazier had 22 kills on the evening, with seven assists, while Kim Warner had eight kills, four assists and four aces. Leanne Ragland had five aces, and Hudgins had eight digs and three aces.

Buckingham will host Central on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the JRD Semifinals, while Cumberland, which clinched the No. 4 spot will host No. 5 Amelia in the JRD Quarterfinals.

“The season's not over,” said Storrie. “Hopefully, we can play well on Monday night and find a way to end the season on a positive note. Everyone starts with a clean slate on Monday.”