The 1982 Miami Dolphins pro football team were led by a powerful group known as the “killer bees.”
You might say the 2021 Hidden Valley volleyball team has the “killer C’s.”
Led by a combined 30 kills and 20 digs from senior Cam Davenport and freshman sensation Caleigh Ponn, the Titans had a little too much for the Patriots Tuesday night in the Hidden Valley gym , sweeping the visitors 25-17; 25-22; 25-19.
Make no mistake about, Patrick Henry has a very talented team that worked hard to pull off the upset between the Top-2 teams in the latest Roanoke Star “Big-11” volleyball poll, but when Cam and Caleigh are on their “A:” game, it’s a tough pill to swallow for any opponent.
Hidden Valley remained undefeated in regular-season best-of-5 set matches at 16-0 (7-0 River Ridge District), while PH fell to 16-2 (6-2 River Ridge). Both of the Patriot setbacks have come from the Titans.
“We knew PH has a very good team and talked about it today,” Davenport said after the match in a seated courtside interview along with Ponn. “It’s challenging to play a good team with good players, but we were up to it tonight.”
Davenport, one of six Titan seniors, had 17 kills and 8 digs. As a captain and floor leader, she has the perfect court savvy to run the action.
“It’s so much fun playing with these girls,” she added. “I’ve played with most of them for six years so that makes a big difference.”
Ponn, who happens to be the daughter of Titan head coach Carla Ponn, has volleyball in her blood. She had 13 kills and brought 12 digs off the court, many in acrobatic fashion that had the crowd buzzing.
“We were on tonight,” Ponn noted. “We found the ball and that makes a difference. It’s a blast playing for my Mom and with these girls. There’s great chemistry on this team and we all want to win a state championship.”
Patrick Henry started strong in all three sets, scoring the first points in each. But, a 2-0 advantage in the opener quickly turned to a 5-2 Titan advantage before the Patriots pulled to within 11-10 midway, led by the serving of sophomore Sallie Boxley who finished with 6 aces for the night. The Titans went on an 8-2 run to go up 19-12 before PH closed to within 22-17. Hidden Valley then reeled off the final three points capped off by Ponn’s score.
Set two saw the Patriots score the first three points and staying on top until Hidden Valley tied things at 11. PH regained the lead and was up 21-18 before the Titans went on a 6-0 run fueled by a service run by senior Emily Dudley to get to set point and take the set two points later.
The third set saw Hidden Valley get to leads of 10-7 and 17-14 before scoring 5 straight to go up 22-14. That left the only question whether Hidden Valley mascot “Banana Man” could keep his broom in hand, before it was finally confiscated by a school official. The 8–point advantage was more than enough as the Patriots got no closer than 5 the rest of the way. Ponn’s kill closed the deal at 24-19 match point.
Patrick Henry was led by senior outside hitter Marella Hudson’s 7 kills and 10 digs, with junior Reghan Dixon adding 7 kills. Boxley had 4 kills for PH.
“Hidden Valley is very good and we gave them a good shot,” PH sophomore libero Claire Thielecke noted afterward. “Every time we got a run going they came up with a big shot. We’ll get back at it tomorrow in practice and be fine.”
In addition to Davenport and Ponn, senior Faith Mitchell provided 16 assists, 11 digs and 3 aces for the Titans, with Dudley setting 11 assists and firing 3 aces. Junior Abby Crosser added 6 kills.
Can Hidden Valley stay on track for a state run?
“No doubt in my mind,” Ponn remarked with a smile. “We have a lot of confidence.”
Another key “C” for the “killer C’s.”