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Towson volleyball advances to Class 3A state semifinals after sweeping Poly

Poly coach Kendall Peace-Able got ejected late in the first set.

This time, Poly’s volleyball team got off to a better start than it meeting with Towson last year.

But the ending looked all too familiar.

No. 8 Towson swept pesky No. 14 Poly, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18, Friday night to take its second straight Class 3A North Region championship.

Poly coach Kendall Peace-Able wasn’t around to see the ending. She was ejected late in the first set.

The ruckus didn’t take away from Towson’s celebration.

“We are playing really well at the right time,” said Towson coach Emily Berman, whose team extended its winning streak to 17 matches. “We are really coming together. This was a great win. That’s just what we needed going into the state semifinals.”

Towson’s march to Monday’s 3A state semifinal in College Park, where the Baltimore County champions will play Atholton, was bit more predictable this year.

Unlike last fall, when Towson surprised observers by making its first trip to the final four in five seasons, the Generals entered 2016 knowing it had good reason to expect a return trip.

“I think all my teams have been pretty good, but this team has all-star potential at certain positions,” Berman said. “I have a strong outside hitter (Sara Mandreja) and really good libero (Maeve O’Connor). I think those two work together to create a really solid team.”  

Mandreja, a junior, performed admirably. She totaled 12 kills.

Towson (17-2) also received solid efforts from Michaila Sheedy (9 kills), Nicole Race (8 digs, 4 aces, 3 kills) and Logan Marsh (24 assists).

The Generals got off to a slow start in the first set. Poly (15-2) took a 6-3 lead thanks to Whitney Chappell serving three straight aces.  

The Engineers’ biggest lead was 14-10.

Towson fought back and held an 21-19 advantage when Peace-Able received a yellow and red card for failing to control a Poly supporter.

It delayed the match 10 minutes.

Peace-Able, who watched the remainder of the match from an office in the gym, wasn’t available to comment following the game.

“It was for fan interference,” said Berman, explaining the reason for each card. “The fan would not leave the premises.”

Towson was awarded two penalty points on its way to prevailing in the first set.

The Generals were most impressive in the second set, jumping out to a 10-3 lead behind the serving of Sheedy. Poly closed to 12-10 before Towson took control.

The Engineers wouldn’t go quietly in the third set thanks to the play of Chappell and Hannah Amodia. After nine ties, the last one coming at 17-17, Towson closed with an 8-1 run.

“I think we didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Mandreja said. “We were very consistent. We passed well and hit well.”

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