RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Championship Thursday at the Siegel Center for VHSL boys volleyball certainly featured plenty of local flavor, as five area squads took the court in hopes of capping off memorable state title runs. When the dust settled, three programs repeated as champions.
Patrick Henry is used to this stage. The Patriots took the court against Maggie Walker to decide the Class 4 state crown, and the story ended just as it has in each of the previous three seasons, as Patrick Henry rolled to its fourth consecutive state championship with a 3-0 win. The Green Dragons kept the first two sets close (25-23, 25-22), but the Pats rolled to the sweep with a 25-11 set three win.
The Patriots became the first team ever to win four straight state championships in VHSL boys volleyball.
“We were very underestimated,” Patrick Henry head coach Michael Townsend said. “I lost three first-team all-state players from last year, so we were supposed to be rebuilding, but I knew I had a solid team following behind that group and that’s exactly what we did this year.”
“We had a whole lot of pressure on us,” added senior middle blocker Cal Inge. “Last year, at the end of the year, everybody was like ‘will we get another?," and I’m happy to say that we could do it again this year.”
The Class 5 title match featured a backyard brawl between Deep Run and Glen Allen, and it turned out to be everything a state championship showdown should be.
The Wildcats maintained a perfect record, holding off Glen Allen for their third straight state title, 3-2. The Jaguars, however, gave them everything they could handle.
Deep Run came out of the gate and won the first set 25-21, but Glen Allen responded with wins in the next two sets (25-23, 25-23). It marked the first time all season that the Wildcats had been down 2-1 in a match. The Cats had a strong response, opening up a seven point lead in the fourth set, and held off a Jaguar rally to win the frame, 25-22. forcing a deciding fifth set.
The back and forth final set was tied at 11, then tied again at 13. That’s when Sean McDermott tallied a kill to put Deep Run in front, and Tyler Weber hammered a spike that the Jags could not return, clinching the title for the Wildcats.
“That was awesome, that was fun. I love playing Glen Allen, I love playing Coach (Kevin) Hoy. He always comes with a great game plan, so it was awesome,” said a relieved Kevin Pond, Deep Run’s head coach. "They had a great game plan, they attacked us at every angle, it was amazing. It was fun. That’s the kind of match I wanted anyway. We gave the fans their money’s worth, that’s for sure.
The nightcap featured a showdown in Class 6 between defending champion James River and Ocean Lakes, and once again the Rapids prevailed.
The Dolphins opened up a 13-8 lead in the first set, but James River rolled back, using a 10-0 run to surge ahead by five points, and would go onto win the opening frame, 25-19. A nail-biting second set saw Ocean Lakes threaten to tie things up, but the Rapids held on for a 26-24 victory to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
There was no quit in the Dolphins, however, as they rolled to a 25-17 win in the third set, but James River responded in the fourth with a victory to lock up back-to-back state championships. It marks the Rapids’ sixth title this decade.
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