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It was a night of firsts for the Liberty volleyball team this past Thursday.
The Lady Minutemen played their first home regular-season game of the year.
They also won their first game of the year.
Most importantly, from a Liberty perspective, the team got its first match win of the year.
The grantor of such largesse? None other than county rival Staunton River.
The Lady Minutemen posted an impressive three-game sweep over the Lady Eagles: 29-27, 25-18, 25-18.
“This was great,” said Liberty Head Coach Bonita Roberts. “It was a joy to watch.”
This was a night of smallness versus youth.
The Lady Minutemen field a team that numbers only eight varsity players.
Staunton River carries a vast majority of underclassmen on its 12-lady roster.
Well, even though there were less of them, the oldsters from Liberty carried the day.
Behind superb all-around play from returning all-Seminole second-teamer Kasey Bond, the Lady Minutemen leveraged the hard-fought first game win into the sweep. Bond was the dominant player of the match.
The 5’7” leaper rained punishing kills upon the Lady Eagles. Many went untouched, due to superb placement by Bond.
Yes, this was Kasey Bond’s night to shine. Perhaps, somewhere along the way, she was slighted by this Staunton River crew.
Maybe, in a previous life, Bond was ill-treated by the southern part of this county.
Whatever the cause, she played with a vengeance.
“Kasey has a really good mind for the game,” said Roberts. “She is very smooth and a great leaper.”
In addition to driving home 18 kills, the senior nailed seven aces and registered 11 digs.
We’d have loved to see her numbers if this one went the full five matches.
Other Lady Minutemen stepped up in a big way, as well.
KiKi Jones, new to the varsity this year, showed that she can quite ably dish ‘em out. Jones had 25 assists for the evening.
Callie Glover, playing the libero role, showed that she can anchor the back line. The three-sport standout had 15 digs.
Hannah Markham had a very nicely balanced game. The senior’s numbers for this one: seven kills, three aces and eight digs.
River was paced by Abby Moran and Moira Guzi, who combined for eight kills. Guzi also had a pair of blocks.
Jewell McRoy, a soccer standout for the Eagles, chipped in with 11 assists.
“We’re young, and it shows,” said River Head Coach Rich Northrup. “We’re taking our lumps, but we’re playing with heart and as a team.”
Make no mistake, River has a lot of growing up to do. Yet, there seems to be some solid talent on this team.
Is it a rebuilding year in Moneta? Perhaps. But the smart money says that the Eagles will upend a few apple carts before all is said and done this season.