South River topples Arundel in three sets

Revenge isn’t on the top of the South River volleyball team’s list this year.

Sure, the Seahawks have probably been waiting all season to get a crack at an Arundel team that defeated them three times last year. More importantly, South River has its sights set on a deep playoff run.

In a matchup of the only two teams who entered unbeaten in county play, South River built big leads in each set and won its 10th straight match with a 25-12, 25-12, 25-23 victory over two-time defending Class 4A East Region champion Arundel on Thursday.

South River (10-0) won the first two sets handily, but had to hold off a late Arundel rally to win the third to clinch the match.

“I didn’t envision sweeping them. I thought it was going to be a tough match because they have athletes,” South River coach Maureen Carter said. “I was very worried about them, and they almost took that third set from us. They hung in there.”

Samanta Tarabella led the Seahawks with 14 kills, seven digs and a block. Three of her kills came in the first set where South River jumped out to a 14-3 lead and cruised to the 25-12 victory. She was equally impressive the rest of the way, including six kills in the second and five more in the third. Her last kill of the match put the Seahawks ahead 20-13 in the third, then after an Arundel rally, she served an ace to set South River up with a match point. The Wildcats scored four straight points to put the pressure on, but the Seahawks endured a long rally to win the final point.

“We were amped up. It was really exciting,” Tarabella said. “Coming in, we had a little bit of butterflies and we were a little nervous. The whole county was watching this game, I believe.”

After taking the first set, South River had a 3-2 lead early in the second. By the time Anna Osterhouse was done serving, the lead swelled to 19-2 as Osterhouse equaled her jersey number with 16 straight service points. Tarabella had five kills during the run for the Seahawks.

Osterhouse finished 25 for 25 serving with an ace.

“They just got stuck in a rotation,” Carter said. “She didn’t serve too hard, she just served consistent.”

Savannah Doctor had seven kills and six digs and went 17 for 17 serving with two aces, Erin Canter followed with six kills and a block and Emily Speciale had 26 assists and was 6 for 6 serving for South River, which still has county matches remaining with Southern and North County in addition to matches with Howard and Dulaney.

“We’ve been waiting for this for so long and we’re just really trying to go all the way this year,” Tarabella said. “We’ve all known each other for a long time and we’re all just really connected.”

Mackenzie Meehan and Brooke Watts each had nine kills to lead Arundel (9-2 overall, 3-1 county).

“They did exactly what we thought they would do and we didn’t do what we needed to do,” Arundel coach Ashley Yuscavage said. “You can’t let a team like that get big leads.”

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