Washington-Lee senior Becca Jones proved she can talk a big game, saying it "shouldn’t be too hard" for the Generals to beat the rival Yorktown volleyball team. When the two met on Monday, Jones showed she can also play a big game, totaling 24 kills. But in the end, the outside hitter’s individual effort wasn’t enough to knock off the powerful Patriots, who won 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 18-25, 25-21) in front of a spirited crowd at W-LHS.
Jones, a first-team all-National District selection as a junior, attacked the ball from everywhere on the court, recorded four aces with a jump serve and tallied 15 digs. No Yorktown individual matched Jones’ stat line, but the Patriots made fewer mistakes than the Generals and found ways to pull away at the end of games.
"Becca Jones was incredible tonight," W-L head coach John Delaney said. "She was hitting everywhere. Our last match against South Lakes, we had a real hard time getting her involved. This match, it was kind of our goal to get her a lot of touches. … We can’t ignore that she’s the best hitter in the district. She does everything well. She’s a good server, she’s a good passer — the one thing she does better than anyone in the league is she’s a dead-on passer."
Jones took advantage of her opportunities and looked eager to touch the ball during every rally. She tallied eight kills and a pair of aces in the opener and put away five kills and one ace in the Generals’ game three win. The team captain said all of the Generals are capable hitters, but acknowledged she was looking to attack.
"I want to win," Jones said, "so I’ll try to hit whenever I can."
How did she summarize her performance?
"I love playing volleyball," she said.
Yorktown head coach Brittanie Behar said the Patriots weren’t concentrating on Jones.
"We try to focus on how we’re playing regardless of what team we’re playing," Behar said. "What we’re doing on our side of the net is what’s important to me. It’s what we focus on. We don’t really train in practice for specific players."
Yorktown took care of business on its side of the net, building a 2-0 lead before surviving a momentum swing and capturing in the match in game four. After W-L won game three and led 7-2 in the fourth, Yorktown junior middle blocker Ashley Rock took over, recording seven kills and one ace in the deciding game. Rock, a first-team all-district selection as a sophomore, finished with 15 kills, 12 digs and six blocks.
"Ashley is the fire of our team," Behar said. "We rely on her a lot. Especially toward the end, she had some very key swings. She was very impressive."
W-L defeated Yorktown during last year’s regular season finale, handing the Patriots their first district loss since 2007. During the loss, Yorktown lost senior all-region outside hitter Elyse Bush to a knee injury. One week later, the Patriots defeated the Generals in the district tournament.
"Last season, [the loss to W-L] was all mental," Rock said. "Elyse went down and it was hard for everybody because she was our strongest player. We just proved we can win with or without Elyse. We have a strong team this year."
Monday’s district-opening win improved Yorktown’s record to 6-2. The Patriots’ two losses came against Stone Bridge and South County, which were ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the Sept. 20 edition of the Northern Region Volleyball Coaches Association top 10 poll. Yorktown was ranked No. 9.
Yorktown’s Katie Rock tallied five kills and 13 digs against W-L. Eva Muszynski finished with seven kills, three blocks and four digs, Kaley Burlingame had three kills, eight digs, and dished out 30 assists and Taylor Brown recorded 13 digs.
W-L’s Aliya Winker finished with 10 kills and Synthia Boudreau tallied nine kills and two aces. Setter Erin Fox dished out 48 assists.
Delaney said there were some bright moments to go along with Jones’ performance, but other Generals (4-3 overall, 1-2 district) need to step up down the stretch.
"For us to compete against a team like Yorktown, we really have to get the ball into [Jones’] hands as much as possible," Delaney said. "But the key for us to beat a team like Yorktown is — Becca is going to be Becca — we have other players on our team that have to have great nights and I think we just couldn’t find any other hot players on our team to kind of take over."
Yorktown will host T.C. Williams at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 30. The Patriots continue district play on Oct. 7 at Mount Vernon.
W-L will travel to face Annandale at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 30. The Generals continue district play on Oct. 4 at Edison.
"For us, it was a pretty strong match," Delaney said of the loss to Yorktown. "I can’t wait to, hopefully, see them again at the [district] tournament."