BRISTOL, Va. — It has been said that experience is worth its weight in gold.
That was certainly the case at Virginia High on Saturday night when a pair of tradition-rich volleyball programs leaned heavy on their playoff experience to capture Region D championships.
Gate City’s seasoned stable of players led the Lady Blue Devils to a 25-20, 25-7, 25-22 sweep of Wise Central to secure the Division 2 title. Earlier, perennial title contender Rye Cove locked up the Division 1 championship with a 25-17, 21-25, 25-16, 26-14 victory over Clintwood, which was making its first appearance in the regional title game in more than a decade.
For the Lady Devils, the experience gained last year was hard earned. Gate City lost the regional championship game a year ago, which led to a loss on the road in the VHSL quarterfinals.
The goal this year for the Gate City seniors who won a state title as freshmen and have qualified for the state tournament in each of their four seasons was to keep from feeling the sting they felt a year ago.
“These seniors have grown up and they remember that,” Lady Devils coach Amy Reed said. “That’s why they worked so hard to get that (trophy) back in our hands and in our house. We played to win tonight, and we took care of business to be sure we played at home on Tuesday night.”
Kaitlyn Whitt distributed 37 assists for Gate City (29-2), which hasn’t lost a match since Sept 5. The Lady Blue Devils clinched a home state quarterfinal match against James River on Tuesday night at 7 o’clock.
In the Division 1 final, Clintwood simply could not keep up with the Jones. Rye Cove senior Brooke Jones dominated the net, finishing with 22 kills and seven blocks to help secure the win.
Kristin Sanders dished out 22 assists and came up with three service aces for the Lady Eagles (18-7), who will host Galax on Tuesday. Brianna Walden came up with 25 digs.
For complete coverage pick up a copy of the Nov. 11 Times-News.