Can’t touch this: JV volleyball undefeated

Published 8:42 am Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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The deed isn’t done yet – it has two nonconference matches after Christmas – but the dream of a perfect season is still alive thanks to the Davie JV volleyball team’s comeback win over visiting Reagan on Dec. 17.

Reagan claimed the first set by a wide margin, 25-12. Given that the War Eagles had won 14 of 15 sets on the year, they could be excused for mixing in a dud.

The match ended triumphantly, Davie winning the next two sets 25-23, 15-11. It is still undefeated at 8-0 (with all eight coming in the Central Piedmont Conference). The winning streak dating to 2019 is now at 19.

“To see them have to battle back and have to push through, it was great to see,” varsity coach Amber Brandon said. “Our kids were scrappy all over the floor.”

Winning after facing an uphill climb made this the signature moment. Brandon is amazed that a team of two sophomores and 10 freshmen are this close to running the table. “They work hard. They listen,” she said. “The first part of the battle with freshmen is getting them to buy into what you’re doing. Buy into the fact that you’re trying to build a program.”

One of those freshmen, Sophia Brady, played heroically against the Raiders, who lost 25-23, 25-21 to Davie in the first meeting.

“I thought Sophia had the best game she’s had so far,” she said. “She plays in the middle. The step from middle school volleyball to JV is probably the biggest change that you make as you move through the levels. Also, her position as a middle hitter is very different from the middle school level to the JV level. So it’s taken her a little bit of time to figure it out.”

In the third set, a burst of magic from Brady was the biggest reason Davie prevailed.

“She had a really, really good game,” she said. “I actually thought she was the difference-maker in the third set. That is when I saw the team really come together fundamentally, and Sophia played a huge role in that. She had a couple kills that had power on them that I had not seen from her.”

The serving of freshmen Lauren O’Connor and Caroline Lakey did not go unnoticed.

“We did much better from the service line in the second set,” Brandon said. “Lauren had a really good run one time. Caroline had a really good run, too.”

Want a gaudy stat? Brittani Steger is 24-1 in two years as JV coach. “One of the best privileges for me of having coach Steger as the JV coach is she gets it,” Brandon said. “She gets that they’re on JV to learn the same offense, the same defense and the same plays that we run on varsity. Then she can challenge those kids to play hard and get after it. That allows them to not only learn what they need for the next level, but it also allows them to be successful.”