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If all things are equal, the odds of winning something 18 consecutive times are one-in-262,144.
That’s if all things are equal. Such as with a coin flip.
Jefferson Forest’s volleyball team just won its 18th consecutive match, beating Liberty, 25-13, 25-9, 22-25, 25-13.
As with nearly all of their wins this season, the Lady Cavs showed that this was no coin flip.
JF continued its unstoppable march to a Seminole crown and an appointment with the postseason. Liberty proved to be a speed bump, albeit it a more challenging one than most that the Lady Cavs have encountered.
As he is wont to do, after taking care of business in the first two games, JF Head Coach Steve Mills installed his second unit for the third game.
By the way, it is this reporter’s opinion that the JF second unit may well be the second-best unit in the Seminole.
Liberty picked up a moral victory, picking up a win in that third game, 25-22.
With the first team back in for game four, however, JF iced the match, 25-13.
That’s been the script so far this season for the Lady Cavs, match in and match out.
Except, usually, it’s a sweep.
Liberty Head Coach Bonita Roberts came away duly impressed. “JF is good,” said the coach. “They’re good, big and strong. I’m proud of my girls. They didn’t give up.”
That is a challenge for coaches who face the Lady Cavs, especially since they know they will get JF’s best effort.
“One way to respect your opponent is to play it hard,” said JF Head Coach Steve Mills. “We don’t let up.”
Backing the coach’s statement is this stat: In those 18 wins, the Lady Cavs have lost but six games. Two of those came against Cave Spring.
The team is composed almost exclusively of seniors. Having won a share of the Seminole title last season, it’s logical that the ladies had high hopes coming into this season.
“I expected us to play really well,” said setter Erin McIntyre. “I wasn’t looking for us to be 18-0.”
McIntyre, who hopes to study aeronautical engineering, then gave a quick smile. “Now that we’re here, it’s great.”
“Being undefeated is really a big accomplishment for the team,” said Lindsey Smith.
If the Cavs have a dominant player, it would be Jordan Hawkins. She, however, is quick to point to teamwork as the dominant attribute of her team. “We all lead in different ways,” she assessed.
Hawkins pointed to Megan Prothero as an example. “She just takes charge,” said Hawkins of the fiery libero.
McIntyre added, “Every person plays a vital role.”
It’s hard to argue that thinking. Eight players have registered double digit totals in kills. Eight have double digits in digs.
They are not the same eight, by the way.
Even with that wealth-sharing, there are some impressive stats associated with the team.
Smith has the most aces, with 54 so far.
Hawkins leads in kills, with 160.
Brittany McCormick is the leader in blocks, throwing up 33.
Prothero has 220 digs, by far the team leader.
McIntyre dominates in assists, with 347.
Still, the team is a nice mix of specialists and all-around players.
“The whole team contributed and did well,” said Prothero after the Rustburg match. “It was fun.”
So, how far can this team go?
Some of that will depend on luck. You can’t control that.
What Coach Mills likes about a post-season run is the team’s maturity.
“Our seniors will make a difference down the road.”
With the Seminole crown within easy grasp, JF will then enter the Seminole tournament, Nov. 2 and 4 at Liberty.
Then it’s off to Regionals. The Lady Cavs are familiar with the Blue Ridge teams. The great mystery is what awaits them from the Massanutten and Southern Valley Districts.
The bet here is that the Lady Cavs welcome those challenges. One would expect such a group to do so.
After all, added Coach Mills, “We could not have a better chemistry.”