As Archbishop Spalding’s Caitlin Iley stepped up for the coin toss before the deciding fifth set against Severna Park, teammate Mary Sena joked that, “it was the most important moment of their friendship.”
Luckily for Iley, she won the toss and her 21 assists helped the Cavaliers overcome the Falcons, 25-13, 19-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-9.
“They are really good and they are out of conference, so they play really good teams and we just wanted to win to prove to ourselves we were good enough to play teams like that,” Iley said. “She (Mary) likes to tease of me a lot whenever I have high pressure situations.”
It was the return to its attacking ways that propelled Spalding in the fifth set, which started with a heavy kill by Jacey Lewis that set the tone.
“We tend to play the first game very well, but we told them in game five to be more aggressive,” Archbishop Spalding coach Scott Rombach said. “Jacey started the game off with a big swing and kill from the back. It sets the tone for the game if you have them out there swinging instead of giving them gifts. She can dominate the net any time she wants to. She’s a good player all-around.”
Lewis, who was crucial in the Cavaliers’ big first-set win when they jumped out to a 20-8 lead, finished with 12 kills and 17 digs, while Terra Dzambo went 16 for 16 serving with 12 aces and five kills.
The young Falcons have been battling with consistency issues all season, but have shown periods of brilliance, like in the opening set against South River last week and the fourth set on Thursday.
Trailing 16-11 in the fourth set, the Falcons rallied to score 14 of the next 15 points to force a fifth.
“We are streaky and spotty and that’s the frustrating thing,” Severna Park coach Tim Dunbar said. “The good thing is when we play well, we play very well. We just don’t play well for extended periods of time. We will play well for a while and then go into a funk. We started off very slow today. I think we weren’t ready to play when we got here.”
Maggie Sale had 11 kills and two blocks, Skyler Sale had seven kills and seven aces and Madi Mason had seven kills and two blocks for Severna Park (3-7).
Siena DeCicco had 34 assists and four blocks, while Chloe Campbell had five blocks and Georgia Marriner had six kills for Severna Park.
The Falcons will look to improve their consistency as they edge closer to the playoffs.
“The good news is that we are going to make the playoffs,” Dunbar said. “We just need to keep working so we can peak at the right time”
Alyssa Gunther had 12 assists and Maggie Seerey had six kills for Archbishop Spalding (9-8).
Jillian Hunter, who was serenaded with a birthday song as her team celebrated the win, had seven kills.
Hunter said the win felt even more special than the birthday singing and is hopeful the win will provide a boost of unity for the Cavaliers as they head down the final stretch.
“They are a really good team, so I always know it’s going to be a tight game but those are kind of the best games,” Hunter said. “I love playing them, they are a great team and it feels nice to win against them. I’d really like to see us kind of move forward as a team in unity. Sometimes when we are down we fall apart and go separate, but we have gotten a lot better at playing well together and I’m really looking forward to that and hopefully a win like this will really help us.”