Ridgeview celebrates firsts, hopes Thursday isn’t the last
It’s regional tournament time, which means it’s win or go home for volleyball teams.
The Lady Wolfpack has accomplished a lot of firsts this year including beating Abingdon and Central, hosting a Mountain 7 tournament game and attaining a regional berth. Head coach Holly Fleming and her coaching staff have taken a team who won their first district volleyball game in 2018 to a third place finish in the regular season, their highest finish in school history.
“It’s a great feeling,” Fleming said of the accomplishments. “This is the vision that we’ve had for the program and it’s awesome top see it come together.”
This year in the Mountain 7 has been unpredictable to say the least. Second place finisher Central suffered losses to John Battle and Ridgeview. The Lady Wolfpack fell once to Abingdon, Union and Central. In the district tournament, John Battle turned some heads by beating the Lady Wolfpack and Union in comeback, five-set wins to take the district’s No. 3 seed going into the regional tournament. Gate City, who made it to the state semifinals last year and dropped only two sets in district play this year, finished undefeated.
“We are currently climbing the mountain in one of the toughest conferences in the state,” Fleming said of the Mountain 7.
This year started out with two senior leaders in setter Kassidy Rasnick and middle blocker Hailey Sutherland and all players on the varsity roster got a chance to play this year.
“Hailey and Kassidy played their roles perfectly and their stats speak for themselves,” Fleming said. “Every kid on our team saw playing time in big games, from the freshmen to the seniors. This is big for the program going forward.”
When asked who else really made an impression on her this year, Fleming couldn’t name a single person. Instead, she named the entire team.
“Literally every kid,” Fleming said. “If they go in the game, they know their job. They make each other better every day.”
Despite their first round loss to Battle in the M7 tournament, their regular season finish earned them enough points to make it to the regional tournament as the No. 4 seed. The bad news is that they must travel to Bristol to face off against the No. 1 seed from the Southwest District, Virginia High. Fleming’s team has had the opportunity to rest for over a week after playing three and four games a week at the end of the regular season.
“Virginia High is a good team. They’re the top seed again,” Fleming said of the perennial powerhouse Lady Bearcats. “We have to minimize unforced errors and take care of what we can control on our side of the net.”
The game at Virginia High is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. If the Lady Wolfpack wins, they will play the winner of Central vs. Richlands at Virginia High on Saturday at 7 p.m in the semifinals.
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