altIt could hardly have been closer. On Tuesday (Aug. 29) the Fluco volleyball team edged the Barons from Bluestone High in Mecklenburg County by a final score of 3-1. The scores of each game were 25-22, 25-21, 19-25 and 28-26. In other words, over four games the Flucos scored 97 points and the Barons scored 94.

The Flucos had a number of top performers. Senior Abby Sherman was outstanding at the net with 11 kill shots. Joining her with an impressive performance up front was junior Christina Walker who had seven kills and five blocks. Katie Morris was the strongest server for the Flucos, recording five aces. Candice Shaheen, the libero for the Flucos, was in Coach Christi Harlowe-Garrett’s words “amazing” on defense.  In fact, Shaheen set a new school record for digs in a single match. Her 50 digs allowed setters Delaney Reed and Lindsey Ward to put the ball up high for Sherman and Walker. Harlowe-Garrett said she was very pleased with the play of these setters.

It immediately became clear that the two teams were evenly matched. As the game progressed, neither team could get much of an advantage. In fact, at no point in the game did either team lead by more than three points.

In the first game, the Flucos got off to a small lead and held an advantage of a point or two until the Barons ran off three straight points to tie the score at 13-13. The score was tied again at 16-16 and 18-18. The Barons scored two points for a 20-18 lead and the Flucos called a time-out. With Walker on serve the Flucos scored two points for a 20-20 tie. Sherman took over to serve with the Flucos leading 22-21, and fired two serves that were not returnable. The Barons called time-out and scored a point after play resumed to close the gap to 22-24.

However, the Barons’ serve was out and the Flucos were up one game to none.

In the second game, Morris was the first Fluco to serve and she ran off five straight points to put the Flucos up 6-1. Broadway fought hard, but never was able to close the gap. They got within one point at 10-9, and trailed by two at 20-18 when Harlowe-Garrett called a time-out. The teams traded points to 23-21 and Madison Stultz recorded a kill for the Flucos for a 24-21 lead. A successful block at the net by Walker gave the Flucos the win and a two-game advantage.

A team must win three games to capture the match in high school volleyball. When one team wins the first two games, it usually means that the match is pretty much decided. However, there is no guarantee, especially after two very close contests. Bluestone was not ready to give up. Early in the third game, the Barons nursed a two- and three-point lead. In the middle of the contest, Bluestone accomplished a short run to go ahead 16-11. The Flucos battled back to close to one point at 19-18, but a kill shot by Sherman was the only point the Flucos scored from that point on. The Barons took game three 25-19. In three games, the Flucos had scored 69 points and the Barons 68.

During the fourth game the tension in the Fluco gym was palpable. If the Barons prevailed they would force a decisive fifth game that would be played to 15 points, win by two. If that game came to pass, the Barons would have the psychological advantage, with two consecutive wins under their belt.

The fourth game started badly for the Flucos, as the Barons ran off to a 9-1 lead. The Flucos fought back. With an impressive kill shot by Sherman they had cut the lead to 12-7. The Flucos continued to cut into the lead and a service ace by Morris made the score 17-16 in the Barons’ favor. Another service ace by Morris tied the score. After trading some points, two successful serves by Abby Searcy gave the Flucos a 21-19 lead. The Barons bounced back to tie the score at 22-22. But their serve was into the net and an ace by Reed made it 24-22. Broadway called time-out and came back to score two points to push the game into overtime. Broadway took two one-point leads and the score was 26-25 in Broadway’s favor with them on serve, but they hit the ball out for a tie score. Morris scored a kill at the net for the Flucos and the Barons hit the ball out again to end the game and the match.

With this win, the Fluco volleyball team goes to a record 4-2. On Sept. 5 they played at Monticello High. On Sept. 9 they will play in a tournament at Albemarle High. On Sept. 14 they travel to Louisa County and their next home match is Sept. 21 when they host Orange County.