Down two sets to none, Floyd County (24-4) found another gear over the next three sets to take a dramatic 17-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-20, 15-13 win over Union on Saturday in the VHSL Class 2 tournament quarterfinals.
Despite the deficit, the Lady Buffs never seemed to panic.
View Roddy Addington’s photos from the match
“This team is so young and this team has meshed so well and they stay so calm,” said Floyd County coach Carrie Dalton. “They just never give up. They just keep working and working and working. And they knew point by point they had it. I’m just very proud of them for never giving up and just keep playing.”
PASSES WIN THE GAME
Dalton said the key to the win was adjusting to Union power hitter Emili Brooks and making solid passes.
Brooks finished with 31 kills for the Lady Bears (24-9), most of them over the first two sets.
“We practiced for her with different blocking drills and everything,” Dalton said. “I think once we realized they could get past the blocks with tips, they just dominated. But we had to get the passes first. Passing is what won that game.”
After controlling the match early on, Union’s mistakes started to accumulate and its confidence started to fade.
“We had the momentum at first and we just couldn’t hold onto it,” said Union coach Kim Moore. “We started to get down on ourselves and you can’t let negativity creep in to this game, and we did.
“We kind of got complacent in the last little bit and didn’t stay on our toes with defense. Defense killed us. They started junking us and tipping us and shooting it deep. They were smart with where they were placing balls on serves and also smart on where they were hitting the balls at us.”
Floyd’s front-line duo of Halee Dalton and Jaycee Dalton accounted for 25 and 21 kills, and Olina Hylton had five kills and five blocks. Kenzee Dalton recorded 52 assists.
Jayda Smith contributed 20 kills with 16 digs for Union. Brook Bailey had 49 assists and Isabella Blagg had 22 digs.
END OF AN ERA
Union loses five seniors from this year’s squad: Brooks, Jayda Smith, Autumn Varner, Abbi Dickenson and Krista Meredith. These five made three straight trips to the state tournament.
“I have had great players. This group of seniors are amazing. They’ve got bright futures and they’re great young ladies,” Moore said.
“I’m grateful to have had the chance to coach them. And I appreciate the opportunity to coach them.”
ON TO THE SEMIFINALS
Floyd advanced to the state semifinals to meet defending Class 2 champion Radford.