Decked out in pink in celebration of Dig Pink Night, the Oakton High volleyball team battled out a 3-1 (25-15, 19-25, 25-17, 25-22) win over Chantilly High in its first official Concorde District contest Wednesday.
The Cougars opened the match with a 25-15 win in the first set, but dropped the second set to the Chargers 19-25. They picked up momentum again to win the last two sets to bounce back from a 3-1 loss to Madison in their last match.
Misa Mori, a senior outside hitter, led the Cougars with 16 kills and nine digs. Abby Mills, a senior outside hitter and co-captain, also hit double-digits in kills with 13.
Emma Olson, a senior setter, tallied 36 sets and notched three aces. Kaylee Homyk led the Cougars in aces with four.
"We worked a lot on blocking, and we actually got our blocking going tonight," Coach Dan Courain said. "... Chantilly did a great job of covering the ball, so you won't see in the stats as many blocks, but the blockers set the tone. They made the hitters hit differently on Chantilly. That's what kind of got us started."
Courain pointed to the dominance Mori and Mills had on the outside, and name-checked Bri Goodwin, whose "stats won't show just how well she played," as key reasons the Cougars earned their first district win.
"It was our first test, obviously, for how we stack up in the district," Olson said. "I was just really, really happy and excited with the turnout we got. The girls played out of their minds, and we were just so amped tonight. It's definitely a great way to start out."
The Cougars (13-8) will continue district play with a match 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at home against Herndon (4-12).
"District game play is what matters. It's all that matters heading into postseason," Courain said. "We want that first-round bye going into the Concorde tournament, so these are the games that matter. ... This was the start to the season, and they knew that. Everything else was kind of like a preseason. It's go time."
Wednesday's match marked the Cougars' fifth annual Dig Pink Night, which promotes breast cancer awareness and raises funds for research.
All money raised benefits Side-Out Foundation, which was founded by assistant coach Rick Dunetz, who lost his mother to breast cancer in August 2010.
Mori, Olson Hit Milestones
Emma Olson's three aces Wednesday put her tied for first place on the school's all-time aces list.
Olson, a senior setter, has 121 career aces to hold first place alongside Karalee Thomas (2010). She is also on pace to break Thomas' record for most aces in a season. She currently has 46 aces in the 2012 season. Thomas notched 52 in 2010.
"Honestly, that is exciting to think about but what really counts is that our team pulled together to beat Chantilly tonight," Olson said. "It was more exciting to win our first district match, but to have these small achievements on the side is really cool."
Misa Mori's nine digs in the Cougars' 3-1 victory over Chantilly put her in fourth place on the school's all-time digs list, surpassing current assistant coach Leslie Truesdale's 355 with her 363 career total.
"I'm just really happy that we won our first district game," said Mori, displaying the same humble, team-oriented reaction as Olson. "I mean, Leslie's an awesome coach. I was never really a passer, so I've learned a lot from her."
Truesdale praised Mori for her leadership skills on the court, calling her a vocal leader who can play a great all-around game.
"It's been so wonderful working with the defense I played myself," said Truesdale (2008), who is in her first year as a coach for the Cougars. "[Misa] has been passing and servicing wonderfully, and she's digging lights out. She's probably a lot more consistent than I was."
The Cougars will continue to focus on the ultimate goal of winning the Concorde District
Game Stats vs. Chantilly
Misa Mori: 16
Abby Mills: 13
Emma Olson: 9
Bri Goodwin: 6
Karina Nyman: 6
Emma Olson: 36
Kaylee Homyk: 4
Emma Olson: 3
Mikayla Turner: 3
Misa Mori: 2
Kara Sadosuk: 2
Misa Mori: 9
Kaylee Homyk: 8
Kara Sadosuk: 7
Bri Goodwin: 2