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Volleyball: Win Keeps Cougars in Contention for First

Oakton High ties with Robinson for first place in Concorde District

Despite the pressure of Senior Night and a tight Concorde District race, the Oakton High volleyball team soared to a 3-0 victory over Westfield on Tuesday.

The Cougars' sweep (25-19, 25-19, 25-17) of the Bulldogs is their fourth of the season.

The win helped the Cougars break away from a four-way tie for first place, standing with only Robinson atop the leaderboard as both boast 3-1 district records. 

The Cougars knew the stakes heading into Tuesday night's match, but underestimated the energy level in the gym after a boost from the pregame Senior Night ceremony.

"I kind of always dreamt what [Senior Night] would be like, but I never really expected it to be this amped," said Emma Olson, a senior co-captain for the Cougars. "You just have this extra source of energy." 

The hype may have hurt the Cougars at the start of the match, as they fell behind 12-3 in the first set. They then went on an 18-2 run to take a 21-14 lead before winning 25-19.

The momentum stayed on their side of the court, as they continued to dominate for the last two sets.

"They were the scrappiest I've seen them all year," Coach Dan Courain said. "They blocked better than I've seen them all year. They gave it everything they had."

Misa Mori and Abby Mills led the Cougars with eight kills each, while Kaylee Homyck notched a team-high three aces and 10 digs. Olson tallied five blocks.

"This team has just grown stronger this year," Olson said. "At the beginning of the season, our goal was to get a better sense of togetherness, and we've done that. It feels amazing."

Tuesday's match marked the last regular season home game for the Cougars' seven seniors: Abby Mills, Emma Olson, Kaylee Homyck, Brianna Goodwin, Misa Mori, Rachel Johnson and team manager Andie Schilstra.

"This group of seniors has brought everything, there's so much balance. You've got setting, hitting, blocking and, most of all, dedication to the program," Courain said. "They are really focused on trying to win that district championship. Whether they get it or not, they should be proud. They really gave it all they had and were dedicated to it."

On Thursday, the Cougars will face the Robinson Rams in a battle for first place in a 7:15 p.m. away match. A first- or second-place finish at the end of the regular season would give them a first-round bye in the Concorde District Tournament. 

"We've got the talent to win not only against Robinson, but the district title. We know we do," Courain said. "We just have to play consistent, and we can definitely win the title."

Last year, the Cougars played in the title match but lost to Chantilly. The Cougar volleyball team has not earned a title in the school's history.

"A district title has been a goal all season long, and the girls know that. I'm so proud of what we've done this year so far," Olson said. "Everybody's hearts and minds are to get 2-0-1-2 on that banner."

Game Statistics

Kills
Misa Mori, 8
Abby Mills, 8
Emma Olson, 6
Bri Goodwin, 3
Rachel Johnson, 2

Assists
Emma Olson, 20
Kaylee Homyk, 4

Aces
Kaylee Homyk, 3
Abby Mills, 1
Misa Mori, 1

Digs:

Kaylee Homyk, 10
Abby Mills, 5
Emma Olson, 5
Misa Mori, 5

Blocks
Emma Olson, 5
Rachel Johnson, 3
Bri Goodwin, 2
Misa Mori, 1

Concorde District Standings

1. Oakton: 3-1
1. Robinson: 3-1
3. Westfield: 2-2
3. Chantilly: 2-2
3. Centreville: 2-2
6. Herndon: 0-4

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