Ashburn, VA (September 10, 2016) – It was blistering hot outside, but inside it was nice and cool. Perfect for an early season volleyball tournament hosted by Rock Ridge High School. Two Loudoun teams were entered, and each was in a different bracket. Stone Bridge, the seasoned champion and the Phoenix, a rapidly maturing program, were the two schools from Ashburn. The only way they could meet up would be in the playoffs.
Playing three first round matches of two games each, both teams were looking to get a first round bye in the playoff. The Bulldogs lost one game in their second match, and Rock Ridge was sitting at 4-0 as they entered their third, but also ended up dropping a single game.
Interestingly, Sherando was the only team to go through the first round undefeated, capturing one of the two coveted byes. The next five teams, including Stone Bridge and Rock Ridge, all finished at 5-1, and tiebreakers were needed to determine the remaining placements. Stone Bridge got the other bye while the Phoenix settled for the fourth seed.
That seeding meant several things to Rock Ridge. First, they would only play Stone Bridge if both teams advanced to the final. Second, they would have to play an additional game to get to the championship. And, finally, they would have to beat top-seeded Sherando to have a shot at the title.
Playing brilliantly, the Phoenix accomplished the second and third items in short order. At the same time, Stone Bridge made quick work of their semi-final opponent and, sure enough, the Ashburn rivals were on to the championship match.
While Stone Bridge won both games in the final, and captured the championship trophy, the two teams battled fiercely and the match was about as even as anyone could make it including a 27-25 thriller at the end. A great finish for both teams in a grueling day of competitive volleyball.