Bishop Ireton joins the Top 10 rankings this week. (Pete Maravich / For The Washington Post)
As volleyball teams around the area get their seasons off and running, some conferences are already starting to form a new hierarchy. In these early weeks more than ever, experience matters and coaches who lost talent to graduation have adjustments to make.
In the WCAC, an early rematch of last year’s championship served as a reminder of this truth. O’Connell fell to Holy Cross in straight sets, a far different result than the tight 3-2 match that handed the Tartans a title a season ago. While Holy Cross lost All-Met middle blocker Emily Ryan, they come into this year with an experienced starting group, led by setter Nicole Dao and outside hitter Jade Parchment. On the other side of the net, O’Connell lost several starters to graduation and have dropped two of their first four matches.
With the Knights still finding their footing, the top of the WCAC becomes less clear than in years past. This week, a new contender — Bishop Ireton — joins the Tartans in the top 10.
1. Loudoun County (6-0) Last ranked: 1
In last week’s games against Millbrook and Woodgrove, outside hitter Megan Bukala had a combined 34 kills for a Raiders offense that is rolling early.
2. Holy Cross (3-0) LR: 2
The Tartans cruised to a straight set victory over O’Connell last week, showing that not much has changed since last year’s WCAC title game.
3. Northwest (1-0) LR: 3
The Jaguars will hope to continue their season-opening form next week in a big early season test against Damascus.
4. Middleburg Academy (7-0) LR: 4
Coach Maureen DiClementi’s team has not dropped a set so far this season.
5. Flint Hill (6-0) LR: 6
The Huskies have been scoring wins all over the map so far, taking down WCAC contender Good Counsel and a strong Chantilly squad from Northern Virginia.
6. Stone Bridge (7-1) LR: 9
The Bulldogs took down Madison and then won the Albemarle Invitational Tournament to announce themselves as one of Northern Virginia’s best so far.
7. Atholton (1-0) LR: 8
The Raiders kicked off their season with a 3-0 win over local rival Reservoir.
8. Langley (6-1) LR: 5
The Saxons will have to play well in late September to prove the Stone Bridge loss wasn’t the beginning of a backslide.
9. Bishop Ireton (4-0) LR: NR
The Cardinals’ match against Holy Cross on Friday should be a nice measuring stick of how much this squad has grown and how high they can set their sights.
10. Yorktown (5-0) LR: NR
Beating Madison 3-1 last week is a sign of growth for the Patriots, considering they fell to that same opponent 3-0 last fall.
Dropped out: O’Connell (2-2), Briar Woods (3-2)
On the bubble: Damascus (2-0), Wootton (1-0)
All records through Monday.