Catonsville might have swept host Western Tech in three games Wednesday night, but both teams left the volleyball court with smiles and confidence.
The Comets defeated the Wolverines 25-9, 25-14, 25-15, but coach Amanda Kaufman was pleased that she got to play her bench and they didn’t miss a beat.
“That’s nice to see in a lineup,” she said. “Sometimes you switch it up and it just goes in the complete opposite direction,”
Western Tech struggled with the Comets’ aggressive serving in the first game, but improved its digging thanks to senior libero Aprel McKnight.
“She was all over the place, She’s a beast,” Western Tech coach Eric Jett said.
In the first set, it was the Comet serving that roared.
Four of the final seven points came on two aces each by Natalie Bockmiller and Chloe Lins.
Bockmiller was steady all night as libero and Lins shared setting duties with senior Mina Harrison and sophomore Amanda Voll.
Western Tech (2-4) hung with the Comets (5-3) early in the second set and the score was tied 6-6.
The early Wolverine points included kills from seniors Courtney Griggs, Minal Sufian and Deja Bean.
But, after Maja Wichhart’s kill off a Lins assist for a 7-6 lead, Voll went to the service line and took control.
With a wicked hard serve and floater she helped the Comets reel off six straight points for a 13-6 lead.
“She has a fantastic serve,” said Kaufman, noting she had four aces. “She was very, very consistent, no errors. “It’s very, very aggressive and she’s finally been able to get control of it.”
Voll had three of the aces during the six-point run, when the Comets pulled away.
Western Tech showed signs of recovery late in the second set when they scored four straight points.
A kill by Sufian, block from Alliana Warner, diving dig from Colleen Boarman and ace by McKnight highlighted the run that made it 23-14.
But, two points later, Catonsville’s Hunter Stevens ended the set with an ace.
In the third set, the Comets were fueled by five kills from Kayla Pruim, a block and a kill from Nicole Stafford and a kill from Stevens.
Again, Western Tech rallied late behind its defense, but they fell short.
“They hustle and they go after the ball,” Kaufman said.
But, the Wolverines made too many unforced errors to get closer, while Catonsville avoided the mistakes.
“One of the things we did a nice job of today, we didn’t have many unforced errors,” Kaufman said.
They also appeared to be having a lot of fun on the court.
“In games like this, yes they are,” said Kaufman, whose squads only losses this season came against Dulaney, Towson and Mount de Sales.
Meanwhile, Jett noticed the same thing from the Wolverines, especially when they made the Comets work hard for a point and extend a rally.
“They appreciate good volleyball and we had some good points against them and they had fun with those points,” Jett said. “They know what Catonsville is capable of and they want to go out there and give the best they have.”