Volleyball Wins Hard-Fought Regional Championship

The team went 3-1 in sets to clinch the title for the second year in a row

Jacqueline Lutz and Maxwell Tankersley

Editor and staff writer

On November 10, Alexandria City High School girls volleyball faced off against Justice High School for the Occoquan Regional Championship in the Garden. 

The crowd roared and the bleachers shook as the Fightin’ Titans, Justice fans and cheerleaders, parents, and other spectators filled into the Garden. The Titans were dressed in black long sleeve warmup shirts, and their loud warmup music echoed throughout the gym. 

Going into the game, the Titans were 24-0 on the season and had lost no sets the entire season- meaning that their games were won in three consecutive sets (games consist of five sets and teams must win three out of five sets to win the game.) The sets are played to 25 points, and a team needs a two-point margin for victory. 

In the first set, the Titans started down 1, with Justice serving first. The set was very close, with the teams constantly trading the lead. Fans from both Justice and AC were going wild, the bleachers trembling with their cheers. Down 24-20, the Titans called a time out, trying to bring it together. Finally, after a very close set, Justice won 25-20.

Titans look on as their teammates prepare for a serve from Justice.

A.J. DeSain, head coach of the team, said, “I was so excited that we were in such a close first set…It showed me that our team was ready to compete today and we knew we were [going to] be in for a fight.”

Meaghan Wendling, senior player, said  “It was early in the game, and we knew what we needed to fix…so we just did that in the next couple sets.”

In the second set, the Titans served first and again started the set down by 1. The start of this set was like the other, with both teams trading points. After that, however, the Titans pulled ahead 13-8, prompting Justice to call a timeout. The Titans continued to hold the lead, 22-15, and forced another time out. The Titans won the set 25-16, ending with a kill from Wendling.

The crowd seemed to grow louder and louder each set, a change for the Titans after attendance was restricted last year due to COVID-19. Lila Randall, libero, said, “We were definitely really nervous, we haven’t played with a crowd this big in so long… it was so loud, you could barely hear anything on the court, so in the second set we started talking a lot more.”

The Titan student section, who call themselves the Fightin’ Titans, pose for a picture.

The third set started with a Titan serve and Justice hitting the ball out of bounds. The Titans continued to score 2 more points until Justice responded. The Titans took an early lead, forcing Justice to call a timeout with the score being 7-2. Justice brought it together, almost tying the Titans 16-15. However, the Titans quickly came back, going up 20-16 before calling a timeout after Chloe Wilmot had a bloody nose. Justice soon closed the gap, making it 21-21. The teams continued to battle, until the Titans called another timeout, down 23-22. The Titans came back again, forcing Justice to call another timeout with the Titans up 24-23. This timeout did not help, however, and the Titans won the set 25-23, with an attack by Jill Jones. 

Jill Jones, 2, celebrates a point during the third set with her teammates.

The fourth set started with Justice leading. The beginning of this set was just like the others, with both teams trading points. After Justice got a lead of 15-11, the Titans brought it back, tying it up at 15-15, causing Justice to call a timeout. The Titans took advantage of this break, and quickly gained a 5 point lead, making the score 20-15. 

 Wendling went on a scoring streak as she served the ball multiple times until Justice responded. She said, “Once we started getting those points in a row, the momentum started coming, and everyone started getting really hyped.”

Meaghan Wendling serves during her scoring streak in the fourth set.

Justice finally responded, closing the gap to 22-17. The Titans ended the game with a score of 25-20, with an attack from Milan Rex.

The moment it happened. The Titans celebrate the final point that clinched the Occoquan Regional Championship.

After the game, DeSain said, “They all know that I believe in them to the fullest, that they’ve got all the ability in the world, so if their opportunity comes, they’re ready to step up and play great volleyball, and they proved that again tonight.” 

He also added, “The expectation that every single one of those kids has is that we are going to be in for an absolute fight every single game from here on out. If we’re gonna win the whole thing, like we did last year, we’re gonna have to be better than we were today.”

Wendling said  “I think we played really well. There were some setbacks during the game…but I think we really pulled through.”

Star players of the game include Milan Rex, with 18 kills and 17 digs, Chloe Wilmot, with 38 assists, five kills, and 10 digs, Meaghan Wendling with seven kills, two digs, and one block, and Maura Munson, with five kills and eight digs. 

Before and after the game, several Titan athletes were given Occoquan Region awards. Before the game, Milan Rex was awarded Player of the Year for the region; Lila Randall was awarded Libero of the Year; A.J. DeSain was awarded Coach of the Year; Chloe Wilmot and Kaitlin Peters were awarded First Team Honors. After the game, Jill Jones and Chloe Wilmot were recognized as All-Region Tournament Team Athletes, and Meaghan Wendling was awarded Most Valuable Player for the tournament. 

Photos by Jacqueline Lutz.

Jacqueline, or Jackie, is a senior editor and has been writing for Theogony since her sophomore year. She enjoys covering a range of topics, including sports, local and school news, and style. Other than writing, she enjoys reading, exercising, and listening to music.