The Yorktown volleyball team’s quest to repeat as National District champion took a hit on Oct. 28.
Two-time district Player of the Year Elyse Bush tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during Yorktown’s regular season finale against Washington-Lee, ending her season. The Generals went on to hand Yorktown its first National District loss since 2007.
Yorktown bounced back with a victory over winless Mount Vernon on Monday during the quarterfinals of the district tournament, but the Patriots will have to prove they can win without Bush against stronger competition.
Bush fell to the ground in pain after putting away a kill in game two against the Generals. The senior outside hitter was helped to the bench and did not return. She sat in the same spot icing her knee for the remainder of the match, even as the teams switched sides between games.
Yorktown won the first game and led 14-8 when Bush was injured. The Patriots struggled without their best player on the floor and lost 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 25-18, 21-25, 15-10).
"The thing is, when you have an injury like this, it’s not about the pain," Bush said after the match. "It’s about not being able to play. Obviously, I was struggling over here because we were losing. I just wanted to get out there, help and do my part, but I couldn’t, so it’s frustrating."
Bush finished with nine kills in one-and-a-half games.
"Mostly, I’m sad for [Bush]," Yorktown head coach Brittanie Behar said after the match. "That’s a really hard way to end your season."
After Bush’s injury, Behar appeared frustrated with the Patriots’ performance.
"We can beat teams like Washington-Lee without Elyse," the coach said. "We are having a confidence issue. Our mistakes are causing us to lose, not the other team is doing so much we can’t (respond). … As soon as [Bush] gets off the court, the things that we do well we stop doing well, which is weird. We should be able to hit whether she’s there or not."
The Patriots (13-6) snapped a three-match losing streak with Monday’s 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-12) victory over Mount Vernon.
Behar said the Patriots have worked on limiting hitting errors.
"We’ve just really been focusing on being consistent [and] putting the ball in the court — even if it’s a couple tips in a row. Because, a lot of teams we play, you just keep putting the ball in, they’re going to make a mistake."
Sophomore middle blocker Ashley Rock, a first-team all-district selection, led Yorktown with 10 kills. With Bush out, Rock is the Patriots’ top offensive threat.
"[Setter] Libby [Kane] told me before the game if she needs to set it to somebody, she’ll set it to me," Rock said. "I guess I feel some pressure. I know I need to step it up and become more of a leader on the court."
Malaika Bain-Peachey, a junior, filled in for Bush. Bain-Peachey finished with five kills and five aces.
Behar said consistency should be Bain-Peachey’s main focus.
"She has a powerful swing — she has trouble controlling it," the coach said. "It’s either awesome or it’s all over the place."
Yorktown hosts Washington-Lee at 7 p.m. today in the semifinal round of the district tournament.