Girls Volleyball

Rockets rally to earn 1st-round volleyball victory

MERCERSBURG — It was not the way James Buchanan wanted the match to start.

Visiting Middletown ripped off wins in the first two games, 25-19 and a dominating 25-9 set, to take a commanding lead on the Rockets.

But JB completely turned things around and made a huge comeback to ease past the Blue Raiders 3-2 in a District 3 Class 3A first-round girls volleyball match Tuesday night.

The win pushes the Rockets (18-2), the No. 5 seed, into the quarterfinals, where they will take on No. 4 Northern Lebanon (15-0) on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Fredericksburg. The Vikings blanked Big Spring 3-0 on Tuesday, while JB had a pair of 3-0 wins over the Bulldogs during the season.

“You have to give Middletown credit,” James Buchanan coach Erica Piper said. “They came to play the first two sets and we definitely were on our heels.

“But this bunch of girls just would not give up and after we won the third set you could feel the momentum changing.”

Piper said that seniors Kaleigh Hartman, Campbelle Dayley and Mackenzie Stoner began taking control at the net, while junior setter Dallas Burkett provided several crucial service runs.

James Buchanan won the third set 25-21 and the fourth 25-15 to tie the match, then opened the deciding fifth set with an 11-4 lead before finally closing Middletown out, 15-9.

Piper said, “I give these girls all the credit in the word — they could have easily given up, but they refused to lose. That was such a proud moment when we got that last point and the girls cold celebrate the win with our student section.”