GLEN DALE - It all came down to playing with an attitude and protecting the home court on Senior Night.
And that is exactly what John Marshall's volleyball team did Tuesday night.
Seniors Jenna Stephens and Alexis Montes did their part at the net while Emily Winters was solid in service as the Monarchs battled back from a second-game loss to defeat Weir, 25-15, 18-25, 25-5, 25-17, at John Marshall High School.
After falling behind 1-0 right off the bat in the opener, the hosts tallied eight of the ensuing 10 points to take control. The Red Riders were able to pull to within one at 13-12, but never led again.
Winters served up the final five points while Stephens racked up seven of John Marshall's last 11 points on kills. Montes also had a five-point service as the Monarchs tallied 10 of the game's final 12 points.
Game 2 was tight early before Coach Carrie Magnone's Riders used a 13-2 run to take control and break a 5-5 deadlock. John Marshall trailed by as many as 11, but managed to chip away and get the deficit down to five before a Kimberlyn Persina kill sealed the deal.
"Even though we lost that second game I think the turning point of the night came towards the end when we got close," Monarchs coach Stacy Shive said. "It was our Senior Night and the girls wanted this one.
"We battled back and got close, but I think the key was that you could feel the momentum shifting at that point."
Weir felt the shift also as John Marshall took control early and cruised to a third game victory.
Stephens scored the first point on a kill before Winters was credited with seven service points as the hosts rolled to a commanding 8-0 advantage right out of the gate.
The lead continued to grow, with Montes' kills keying another JM run midway through with John Marshall going on a 14-2 run enroute to a 25-5 mauling.
The Red Riders held the lead early in the final game, but the Monarchs overtook them at 6-5 and never trailed again. While it didn't end the contest, a monster kill by Montes late put the exclamation point on things.
"These girls worked real hard and I am so proud of them," Shive said. "They really have come together as a team and are peaking at the right time with sectionals next week.
"Most of the mistakes we make are mental errors and the girls normally know what they are doing wrong and how to overcome things."
Stephens paced the Monarchs with 15 kills while Montes was right behind her with 14. Senior Allie Howard contributed 40 assists while Sara Tennant had nine digs.
Allison Viakley was all over the place for Weir, finishing with 56 sets, nine digs, two points, two kills, a block and an ace. Kylie Matics added 11 spikes and five points while Danica Rasicci contributed seven spikes and five points and Kayla Roth had eight spikes.
"These kids have the fire and the spark is there, I just can't seem to find the switch to keep it lit," a disappointed Magnone said. "I believe in these girls more than anyone can, but they just don't believe in themselves.
"I know what these girls are capable of, and I believe they can do anything, they just give up on themselves so easily. I am just not sure how to fuel the fire in them."