APPOMATTOX — Gate City traveled all the way to Appomattox to accept James River’s surrender.
The Lady Knights didn’t hand it over without a fight.
Lindsey Harper hammered out 24 kills as the Lady Blue Devils held out for a 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-12 victory over the Pioneer District powerhouse in Thursday’s 2A West Regional semifinals.
“It was almost like she was a silent weapon,” said Gate City coach Amy Reed, who led her team to its 10th straight state tournament appearance under her tutelage.
“At times it was hard to get her the ball, but she made her statement when she did it. They couldn’t defend it. They couldn’t stop her,” Reed said.
Gate City (27-2) advanced to Saturday’s regional finals, where the Lady Devils will take on Mountain District rival John Battle (20-9). The Lady Trojans deposed Glenvar 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 in Thursday’s earlier semifinal game.
The 2A West finals will be played at Virginia High with first serve set for 7 p.m. Both teams qualified for the VHSL 2A Final Four in Richmond with Thursday’s victories. Saturday’s match will determine seeding.
Outside hitter Kyra Jessee had 10 kills, six service aces and 14 digs for Gate City. Julie Dockery added 10 kills.
“Dockery played big in the middle for us,” Reed said. “We got the things we were looking for from her.”
Kerri Hite had 39 assists for the Lady Blue Devils, who funneled most of their passes through her instead of their usual two-setter attack. Haley Reed, the team’s other setter, was assigned to defensive duty due to the Lady Knights’ hot serving.
“(James River) really brought its serving game. We knew coming in that they were going to be tough behind the service line,” Reed said. “Obviously in Game 2 and Game 4 we let their serving take over the match and we didn’t do a good job with our serve-receive. But when we passed the ball, we were obviously going to put it down.”
The Lady Blue Devils defense did a solid job keeping James River (20-6) from doing likewise. Haley Reed pried up 15 digs, as did Hite. Caitlin McConnell had 13 digs and Hayley Wolfe had 10.