The Lady Raiders, who completed 2012 on a 10-match win streak, en route to the Class AAAAAA state championship, opened 2013 with four consecutive victories, including a 2-0 win over Harrison, in a state finalists play date at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.
Walton (4-0) beat Chattahoochee (25-16, 25-16), Westminster (25-10, 25-17) and Holy Innocents’ (25-18, 25-19) before its 25-25-20, 25-12 defeat of Harrison in a rematch of last year’s state final.
Jessica Sloan paced Walton in the Harrison match with 14 kills, while Lindsay Seagraves had seven. Celeste Fitzgerald had 23 assists, seven digs and two aces, and Ashley Dean contributed six digs and an ace.
“I thought we did pretty well,” Walton coach Suzanne Fitzgerald said of the Harrison match. “We came out a little bit slow. We had played a pretty emotional match against Holy Innocents’ prior to Harrison. I felt like our first set was a little bit weak. We didn’t pass well, we didn’t communicate well, but then we picked it up, and that’s always what I look for in a team that is going to be successful. They responded well and kind of started playing in their own in the second set.”
Harrison (3-1) gained an early 4-1 advantage behind a few Walton attack errors and maintained its three-point margin at 10-7 following Madison Bright’s kill.
But the Lady Raiders chipped into the lead off Celeste Fitzgerald’s service point, resulting in an 11-all tie, and took their first lead at 14-13 when Sloan found an opening for a kill.
Harrison regained the advantage at 18-17 following back-to-back Walton attack errors, but the Lady Raiders finished off the first set on an 8-2 run to take the early lead in the match.
Seagraves had two kills, coupling with two Harrison attack errors to fuel the spurt. The Lady Raiders recorded three points on Dean’s serve.
The second set saw Walton jump out to a 3-2 advantage it never relinquished. A block from Harrison’s Katie Doering left the Lady Hoyas trailing 9-7, but Walton won five of the next six points for a 14-8 margin.
Ahead 14-9, a Harrison service error ignited a 5-0 run and a 19-9 Walton advantage. Sloan’s three kills, and two blocks from Ashley Miller down the stretch, sealed the second set and the match.
Bright totaled 11 assists, four kills and four digs for Harrison. Caroline Ostman had six digs and five kills, while Doering totaled two kills and two blocks. Andie Karmel collected five kills and four digs. Sarah Taylor also had six digs.
Before losing to Walton, Harrison defeated Marist (24-26, 25-18, 15-10), Lovett (25-5, 25-22) and St. Pius X (25-22, 25-21).
“We definitely lost steam,” Harrison coach Clay Taylor said. “(Walton) outplayed us in the second set. They got some momentum there at the end of the first set and kept it going.
“Overall (on Saturday), we learned a lot about ourselves. We went down in a couple of matches, but the kids were able to fight back. They were able to come together as a team. That’s what this is about right now.”
Landmark Christian 2, Walker 0: The Lady Wolverines lost their rematch of last years’ Class A championship, losing to the Lady War Eagles 25-20, 25-12.
Walker led 15-12 in the first set before Landmark went on a 9-0 run to stake a 21-15 margin. The Lady Wolverines staved off three match points at 24-17 before finally dropping the first set.
Walker never held the lead in the second set and fell behind 6-5 before Landmark pushed ahead for the win. Leading 16-9, the Lady War Eagles won six straight points for a 22-9 advantage and eventually put the match away.
Walker, which was without senior defensive specialist Anna Chocallo, went at the play date, also losing to Marist (13-25, 15-25), Holy Innocents’ (25-19, 11-25, 8-15) and Sandy Creek (11-25, 25-17, 12-15).
Emma Graham had 32 digs on the day, while Holland Martin finished with 39 assists and six aces. Sasha Fazylov had 30 kills, and Brooke Warner collected 35 kills and six blocks.