Eight area volleyball teams head into region tournaments this week, with seven of them in contention Tuesday night.
Two local squads, Rustburg and Appomattox, enter with perfect records and regular-season district titles to their credit.
Rustburg (11-0) is the No. 1 seed in Region 3C and hosts eighth-seeded Liberty Christian (5-7) tonight at 6 in the quarterfinal round. The Red Devils, who won eight of their 11 matches by 3-0 scores, are led by junior Kate Hardie (183 kills and 99 digs this season), senior Anna Maddox (97 kills and 85 digs), junior Meah Coles (363 assists, 60 digs) and senior Tinsley Abbott (81 digs).
RHS has defeated LCA twice this season. The winner plays either No. 4 Monticello or No. 5 Fluvanna on Thursday. As the No. 1 seed, Rustburg has home-court advantage throughout the tourney.
In Region 2C, Appomattox (10-0) took the No. 3 seed despite its perfect season. That region is loaded with strong teams and includes No. 1 Glenvar and No. 2 Patrick County. There are 13 teams in 2C and the top four teams receive a bye, so the Raiders won’t play until the second round Wednesday. They host either No. 6 Floyd County or No. 11 James River (Buchanan). The match time has not yet been announced.
Appomattox is one of three area Dogwood District squads in the 2C field. Fifth-seeded Gretna (8-2) hosts No. 12 Alleghany at 6 tonight, while No. 7 Nelson (7-3) hosts No. 10 Dan River.
One of the more interesting first-round matchups will take place at E.C. Glass at 6 tonight, as the No. 2 Hilltoppers (10-2) host No. 3 Jefferson Forest (9-3). There are only four teams in the Region 4D field, with No. 1 Blacksburg and No. 4 Pulaski meeting in the other game.
Glass’ only losses this season occurred to Rustburg. The Hilltoppers, who finished second in the district this year, have gotten strong play from junior VB Trost (112 kills, 181 digs), senior Hannah Raso (90 kills, 159 digs), junior Erin Johnson (198 assists, 100 digs, 52 kills, 32 aces), sophomore Devan Funke (215 assists, 112 digs) and junior Ashley Dietz (133 digs, 70 kills). Kaylee Abbott, Alex McCray, Sophia Gerni and Emily Crosswhite lead the way for the Cavaliers.
In Region 1B, Altavista (3-8) is part of the four-team field. The fourth-seeded Colonels travel to No. 1 Riverheads tonight for a 6 o’clock game.
Timberlake Christian cruises to title
The volleyball team at Timberlake Christian took home the Virginia Association of Christian Athletics (VACA) state title Saturday, defeating Danville-based Westover Christian 3-0 (25-14, 25-10, 25-17). The Tornadoes went on a tear this season. They posted a 15-0 record and didn’t drop a single set, winning all 15 matches 3-0.
VES goalie receives national honor
Virginia Episcopal sophomore Bryce Ledwith has been named one of the top goalies in the country by U.S. Club Lacrosse, which included Ledwith in its Power 20 keepers for the Class of 2023.
Football times set
The Virginia High School League on Monday released times and dates for this week’s region title games, and there were no deviations from the norm for area teams.
In Region 3C, No. 3 Liberty Christian (5-1) hosts No. 4 Heritage (6-1) inside Williams Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday. In Region 2C, top-seeded Appomattox (7-0) welcomes Glenvar (5-2) to Bragg Stadium for a Friday game that also begins at 7.
The Pioneers advanced to the region title game by waxing No. 1 Rockbridge in Lexington last week, while LCA dismantled Brookville to advance to the second round for the second straight season. Appomattox overwhelmed Radford in the first round.
Around the corner
While fall sports are currently in the postseason, spring sports are on the way, as practices began Monday. All sports other than tennis begin regular-season events April 26 (tennis starts April 21). Under the condensed regular-season plan the VHSL adopted for 2020-21, baseball and softball play 12-game schedules, soccer and tennis are slated for a 10-game seasons, lacrosse features a nine-game slate, and track and field holds six meets.