“Lets go Hawks! Lets go Hawks! Lets go Hawks!” the crowd roared out as the girls volleyball team was on the verge of claiming the regional championship title.
After falling short in the conference semi-finals to Midlothian in the 2016 season, the Hanover girls volleyball team reloaded this past offseason and came back seeking revenge on the regional rivals from Midlothian. The girls suffered the biggest losses in the middle due to the graduating class of 2017 which consisted of middle blockers Cameron Murry, Deanna Baldacci and Margo Marsh. This prompted the next man up mindset for coach Greg Knight and the lady Hawks who looked to sophomore Anna Loce and senior leader Hannah Reichel to step up big in the middle this season.
“I was looking for smart players that could learn and adapt to whatever I asked of them. Hannah played a tremendous amount and got incredibly smart at using unconventional techniques to score points for us. Anna was a great learner and did everything I asked her to do for us.” Coach Greg Knight said.
However, outside of the middle blocker position, the girls had strong returners in every other spot on the floor. Both outside hitters, senior Kylie Tuxford and junior Megan Kratzer have been on varsity every year of their high school volleyball campaign. Setter Quinn Kellogg led the teams offense last year and was more than prepared to come back and have a strong junior season. Senior libero, Lauren Hughes, has had her fair share of experience as well, backed up by sophomore libero, Leslie Anne Curry, who has proven herself to be the likely starter next year. Junior right side hitter, Olivia Everhart, also came back for her second year on varsity and was posed to play a much larger role in the offense this season.
The Hawks got off to a strong start this season, winning six straight in the early going, including to big wins against talented teams from Mills Godwin and Midlothian High Schools. The girls started off county play at Atlee on September 19 and fell to the Raiders in three hard fought sets. However, Hanover was without senior standout, Kylie Tuxford, in this matchup and seeked revenge on the Raiders later in the season. After that one slip up early on in the season, the girls swept both Lee Davis and Patrick Henry and took care of Atlee at home in a 3-1 bout. The girls finished off the regular season with a record of 17 wins and 1 loss, clinching the number one seed in the regional playoff.
In the first round of the class 4B regional playoffs, the Hawks took on the seventh seeded Chiefs from Monacan High School at home on Thursday, November 2. The girls were able to take care of business in three straight sets, led by senior, Kylie Tuxford, who tallied 21 kills, Megan Kratzer who had 17 kills of her own and Quinn Kellog who assisted on 37 of the teams points.
Before moving onto the regional championship against the class 4 rivals of Midlothian, the girls swept the Courtland Cougars at home on November 7, securing them a spot in the state tournament regardless of their result against Midlothian in the following match. However, in a dramatic five set thriller the Hawks were able to finish strong against the Trojans 15-7 in the fifth set.
The girls run for the state title fell short in the quarter finals against Grafton High School in three straight sets in which the Hawks fought hard, but it wasn’t enough to get the job done. Nevertheless, the girls had an amazing season and will reload next year with a strong returning junior class.