Van Camp's return stymies Lady Trojans in SWC quarterfinals

One player can make a difference at times. For the third-seeded Weston volleyball team, Barlow senior captain Caity Van Camp is that one player. When Weston faced Barlow in the regular season Oct. 16, the Lady Trojans won, 3-0 with Van Camp out of the lineup. In the rematch on Monday, Van Camp (15 kills, four digs, two service points, one block) was back and sixth-seeded Barlow won 3-0 (15-14, 25-14, 25-20) at Weston in the SWC quarterfinals.

"It was a challenging game," said Lady Trojan coach Jamie Charles. "We had to play our best and we didn't. They got a little overwhelmed. Instead of being aggressive, they held back and waited for a teammate to make the play. We made too many mistakes."

The Lady Falcons raised their record to 15-4 and play second-seeded Newtown tonight. Weston dropped to 15-3 and awaits its seed for the Class M tournament, which starts next Monday.

Although the Lady Trojans had leads in all three games, their advantage never eclipsed five points, which was 6-1 in the third game. Weston took that lead with sophomore Lili Clement (10 service points, one ace, one kill, seven digs) serving four straight points. Freshman Hannah Ashmore (six kills, one service ace, two blocks, five digs) showed her prowess and potential to develop into an elite player. Ashmore secured one of Clement's points with a kill at the net.

Weston never led late in the game and its last tie in the first game was 11-11 and in the second game, it was 5-5. The Lady Trojans closed the gap to one, 13-12, in the second game on the strength of senior captain Brittany Swanson's sets. Swanson (16 assists, three digs, two blocks, two service points, one ace) set up Ashmore's hit that made it a one-point game.

Part of the problem for Weston was Barlow's stellar defense, starting with senior captain libero Kate Bodurtha (17 service points, 21 digs). Overall, the Lady Falcons had 47 digs.

The Lady Trojans did well defensively, accumulating 38 digs with junior Christina Welsh (two kills, two assists, five service points, two aces, 11 digs) leading the way on defense. Welsh and classmate Haylee Winikoff (six digs) hustled to many balls and kept many points alive. What plagued Weston was its hitting errors and countless net violations. Lady Trojan senior captain Anja Nickel (14 kills, one service point, five digs) gave her team a chance and her hitting kept Weston in the game. She served two points to give the Lady Trojans an 11-10 lead in the third game.

Weston's last lead in the third game was 14-12 with Welsh serving two points, one ace. In the end, Van Camp and her tall teammates were too much for Weston.

"We didn't communicate like we normally do," said Nickel. "She [Van Camp] made a big difference but it wasn't just her and her whole team played well and dug a lot."

Senior captain Julia Robinson two service points and a dig for the Lady Trojans.

One upshot for Weston is that it will have at least one Class M home game. The Lady Trojans hope to do better at States than they did at SWCs.

"I hope to be proud of them whenever we walk off the court," said Charles.

Nickel said, "We're going to work on things in practice and hopefully come back strong. I hope we work as hard as we can because we didn't play our best tonight."