Fort Defiance vs. Rockbridge Volleyball

Fort Defiance's Trinity Hedrick goes up for a shot against Rockbridge.

FORT DEFIANCE — What has been a dominant season for Fort Defiance continued on Thursday.

Led by freshman Maecy Ann Frizzelle’s 14 kills, the Indians defeated Wilson Memorial 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 25-15 in a Shenandoah District volleyball match inside Don Landes Gymnasium.

“I think this was the best all-around team performance we’ve had all season,” Fort senior Ellie Cook said. “Every aspect of the game, we performed really well tonight. I’m super proud of our team, we all came together in that last set and we fought hard.”

Cook had 13 kills on the night and led the Indians in digs with 21.

The James Madison women's soccer commit said she does her best to be a leader and push everyone on the court to do their best.

“As a captain, it’s my role to pick everyone up as well as myself,” Cook said. “I just try to be a good role model.”

The Indians looked solid early in set one as they led 11-4 at the first timeout. The Green Hornets struggled to keep the ball in bounds and were eaten up by Fort Defiance’s teamwork. The Indians cruised to the set win with Cook notching three kills.

Fort Defiance first-year head coach Amber Pitsenbarger said Cook is a go-to player offensively and defensively.

“She’s a very intense player and they know when she buckles down, everyone else buckles down with her,” Pistenbarger said. “She’s a good leader in that way with her intensity.”

The Green Hornets didn’t let the Indians get away too quickly in set two as they kept it competitive early. Senior Allison Sykes racked up three kills, but it wouldn’t be enough as Fort Defiance started to pull away. The story of set two was Frizzelle, who collected six kills in the set.

“Having to step up into a starting position on varsity, it’s a lot and big shoes to fill,” Pitsenbarger said. “She’s doing a great job [and] working really hard at it. She’s doing phenomenal.”

Looking for the sweep, the Indians went down 3-0 early in set three. Both teams fought hard and didn’t allow either to pull away.

Wilson Memorial led 18-17 at the first timeout, but the Indians rallied back to lead 23-21. The Green Hornets didn’t give up and stayed alive to win by two. Frizzelle believes the team’s lack of energy was the difference maker.

“We didn’t get as hype about every little thing like we should’ve been, and they did,” Frizzelle said. “That kinda boosted them and we fell behind.”

The Green Hornets’ resurgence in set three would be shut down in set four as the Indians took an early 12-8 and didn’t look back. They led 21-14 at the second timeout and would hang on to win with multiple kills from senior Baylee Blalock and junior Trinity Hedrick.

The Green Hornets were led in kills and digs by Sykes with 12 and 22, respectively. Senior Cierra Cannon contributed with seven kills and senior Hope Maddox had 20 digs.

WMHS head coach Lauren Grove believes her team was slow to the ball but showed “spurts” of what they’re capable of.

“We definitely started swinging the ball a lot more [in set three] and we had a lot less errors,” Grove said. “When you’re missing serves and stuff, you’re not going to put points on the board. You can’t give the other team points.”

Moving forward, Grove said the Green Hornets (7-3, 4-1 Shenandoah) can rally back and one loss won’t affect them.

With Fort Defiance now 13-1 this season and 3-0 in district play, she said there’s no shame in losing to a top team.

“They’re doing well, we’re doing well and somebody had to come out the winner tonight,” Grove said. “We were just a step behind at times and it’s OK.”

Contact John Breeden at 540-574-6291 or jbreeden@dnronline.com. | Follow John on Twitter: @John_R_Breeden

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