The defending VHSL Class 1 state champion Lady Rebels had a simple formula for the Region 1D volleyball championship: Get the ball to the net and kill it.
The plan worked to near perfection.
Patrick Henry knocked down 46 kills and had 10 blocks on the way to a 25-16, 25-21, 25-9 win over Thomas Walker at Eastside High School in winning its second straight Region 1D title.
Both Patrick Henry (31-1) and Thomas Walker (18-8) advance to Saturday’s Class 1 state tournament quarterfinals.
Patrick Henry will host Region C runner-up George Wythe, a team they’ve beaten four times this year, while Thomas Walker travels just north of Roanoke to face Region 1C champ Auburn in its first state volleyball tournament appearance in school history.
STICK TO THE PLAN
Led by Ella Maiden’s 20 kills and seven blocks and Abigail Belcher’s 15 kills and three blocks, Patrick Henry wore down a determined Lady Pioneer team in Wednesday’s regional title game.
Patrick Henry coach Kim Newberry said it was all about working hard and sticking with the plan.
“We had a good game last night, but tonight we put all the pieces back together,” said Newberry. “We were a little off on our outside hitting last night, but tonight they decided they wanted to play. It’s nice to have all of your guns loaded.
“We didn’t hit very well last night. So they were on a mission tonight. Passing hurt us a little bit last night. Tonight, they were on it. Our passers absolutely stepped up and allowed all of our hitters to be involved.”
Freshman Avery Maiden added six blocks, 36 assists and 19 digs for Patrick Henry, while Hannah Holmes had 14 digs.
“They’re good. You can’t take anything away from them. And it’s not just one person doing it all for them. They have several hitters that put it down,” said Thomas Walker coach Kristen Parker. “They bring a lot of energy, and their crowd brings a lot of energy.”
After dropping the first set, Thomas Walker took an early lead in the second set and held it until a block followed by a kill from Patrick Henry’s Ella Maiden put the Lady Rebels up 21-20.
Patrick Henry rolled off the next four points, which included two more kills from Ella Maiden and another kill from Avery Maiden, to go ahead 2-0 in the match.
After the third set opened up with a 2-2 tie, Patrick Henry used an 11-2 scoring run to grab a 13-4 advantage. The Lady Rebels kept the momentum the rest of the way in completing the sweep.
Thomas Walker got eight kills from Talyn Dibrell, while Lakin Burke had six kills and Bella Schwartz finished with 19 assists and 19 digs.
The Lady Pioneers also got 18 digs from Madison Mayes and 11 digs from Savannah Hall.