McDonogh senior Maya Wynn knew the key to her team’s success at Mount de Sales was getting off to a strong start, so with the help of junior teammate Dajah Logan, they did.
The pair combined for a pair of blocks as the visiting Eagles raced out to a 7-0 lead in the first set.
Mount de Sales never recovered and the Eagles swept the Sailors, 25-18, 25-22, 25-15.
McDonogh (6-2) improved to 3-2 in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
The Sailors (5-3, 3-1) suffered their first conference defeat.
“We wanted to make sure we started the game off well with high spirits,” said Wynn, who, along with Logan finished with two solo and three assisted blocks.
“They set the pace from the beginning and we could not stop it and we could not find our pace,” Mount de Sales coach Monica Owensby said.
It wasn’t just the blocking that got the Eagles going.
“We wanted to come out strong so we wanted to serve well and serve receive well,” Wynn said.
They did both, with libero Quinn Allee-Press and Kristina Whitaker igniting the offense with crisp passing to setters Allison Glossinger and Wynn.
“This is definitely the best we’ve played throughout a whole match, McDonogh coach Ginger Gelston said. “We consistently played strong,”
Logan led the way with 11 kills, but Brianna Jacobs (5) and Whitaker (4) also contributed.
Mount de Sales got strong play defensively from senior libero Megan Hren and solid setting from senior Lynn Walsh, but they never found a consistent hitting rhythm.
“This was definitely an off day for us,” Owensby said. “We just could not find that chemistry from the beginning. It didn’t matter who was the front row or who was the back row. Our options were depleted.”
In the second set, the Sailors steered away from the block and they were in it until the end.
“We tried to spread the offense a little with Annie (Tavera) in the middle and it worked for us well and when she was able to get a good swing on the ball we were able to get some points.” said Walsh, who had 17 assists.
Tavera led the Sailors with eight kills while Emily Smith (4), Taylor Swenski (3) and Camryn Beaumont (3) combined for nine.
The Sailors tied the second set at 22-22 after a long point that ended with a kill from Walsh and included rally-saving digs from Walsh and Hren.
But, a missed Sailor serve was followed by an ace from Logan and Sailor error and the Eagles had the 25-22 victory.
“It took our momentum off a little and we kind of stopped fighting for it a little,” Walsh said. “I think one of the things we do have to work on is pushing through those sets and really fight to get to 25 first.”
Wynn knows the feeling.
“We always try to make sure no matter what we stay focused,” she said. “No matter what happens we need to come out strong.”
McDonogh’s defense set the tone in the third set, until a pair of kills from Logan gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead and forced a Sailor time out.
After an error cut it to 14-11, the Eagles reeled off seven straight points, with six coming after the aggressive serving of Allee-Press.
“We’ve been working on serving tougher in practice,” Gelston said.
“Their serving was very good,” said Owensby, puzzled by the low total of five aces from her servers. “We are a very strong serving team and I have a total of five aces this entire match and that is not usual.”