By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Oct. 25 — Luray lost a tough-fought battle on the road at East Rockingham, 3-0, in a Bull Run District volleyball tournament semifinal on Tuesday night. No. 3 Clarke upset second-seeded Central in the other semifinal to set up an “Eagles versus Eagles” championship. Clarke will travel to East Rock on Thursday night for the Bull Run District tournament title.
On Tuesday night, the Bulldogs got off to a solid start taking the early lead, until things were tied up for the only time during the opening set at 8-8. Luray jumped back ahead and lead by as much as five at 14-9. East Rock stayed within two points the rest of the way, but the Bulldogs would hold the lead up to game-point at 24-21. However, the tournament’s No. 1 seed went on a 5-0 run to close out a 26-24 win in the first set.
The second set saw more back-and-forth as the score never favored either team by more than four points. Once things were locked up at 8-8, there were 10 ties and more than a dozen lead changes until East Rock pulled away slightly to claim a 25-21 win.
The third set may have been the closest of all with the score knotted up 16 times, including at 20, 21, 22 and 23. The Eagles were able to squeak out the last two points to claim a 25-23 win, and a tough 3-0 sweep of Luray in the district semifinals.
The Bulldogs once again got strong performances from seniors Jaidyn McClung (seven kills) and Lindsay Bly (five kills). Junior Gracie Embrey posted four kills, while sophomore Caydence Cave recorded two aces and several assists.
East Rockingham was lead by sophomore Alliyah McNair with seven kills, two blocks and an assist. Junior Kate Simpkins had a big night as well with six kills, while senior Madelyn Wiiliams had four aces and a kill.
With the loss, Luray (14-8) now exits the Bull Run District tournament and prepares to travel to Buckingham County on Tuesday, Nov. 1 as the No. 6 seed in a quarterfinal round matchup in the Region B tournament. The third-seeded Knights (9-6) compete in the James River District and had four of their losses this season come at the hands of Nottoway (17-2) — the top team in the James River — while the other two losses were to Appomattox.
East Rockingham (19-6) will now host Clarke (14-8) for the Bull Run title at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27. The junior varsity district volleyball championship between Central and Clarke will take place at 6 p.m.
In next Tuesday’s other Region B quarterfinals — No. 1 East Rockingham will host No. 8 Mt. View, No. 4 Central will host No. 5 Stuarts Draft, and No. 7 Madison travels to No. 2 Clarke.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.