There are no longer any undefeated volleyball teams in Howard County. Coming into Tuesday night, only Glenelg — at 3-0 — had yet to sustain a loss. But then the Gladiators fell at River Hill, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-22.
"It was really exciting. The whole team was really fired up and every point we played really hard," said River Hill senior Sydni Horner, who led the Hawks with 11 kills. "We wanted this badly. Glenelg played really well too, they gave us a really good match."
River Hill's formidable block, led by middle hitter Keana Richards (10 kills, 7 blocks) and setter Kalala Pines (17 assists, 6 blocks), limited Glenelg's powerful hitting tandem of Morgan Perry and Sarah Girard.
"My biggest concern was us playing against their big block," Glenelg coach Jason Monjes said. "We couldn't control the pace of the game, they played their pace and we got in ruts and we never really got comfortable … both teams played great defense, they just made more plays than we did when it counted."
Sammy Lala (8 kills) and Emily Luo (7 kills) also led River Hill (4-1) on offense.
Mt. Hebron, a 3-0 winner over Oakland Mills, and Wilde Lake, a five-set winner over Centennial, improved to 4-0 in league play on Tuesday.
The league "is definitely a lot different than it's been in the past. Usually there's been one clear-cut team that's risen above," Horner said. "This year with the spread of players, there are a lot of teams that could take the county championship. Right now it's anyones."
Around the league
Wilde Lake 3, Centennial 2
The Wildecats defeated 14-time state champion Centennial for the first time in at least eight years, 25-21, 19-25, 14-25, 25-22, 15-10.
"It was awesome," Wilde Lake coach Caitlin Williams said. "We play with such intensity regardless of the score ... (Centennial) fought hard, it was a great match on both sides."
Wilde Lake was led offensive by Ellah Ipah (12 kills), Kelly Surkovich (13 kills), Carmen Freeman (8 kills) and Megan Morales (41 assists). But Williams said that senior libero Carly Jones (2.5 serve receive average) was the catalyst to the stunning upset.
"She's really grown up and developed into a leader," Williams said.
Reservoir 3, Marriotts Ridge 1
The Gators defeated the Mustangs Tuesday night, 21-25, 25-12, 25-15, 25-20.
Reservoir was led by Hannah Pinion (13 digs, 13 kills, 3 aces), Imani Clayton (5 blocks, 7 kills), Paige Foley (14 assists) and Caroline Winand (21 assists, 6 aces).
Hammond 3, Long Reach 2
The Golden Bears edged the Lightning in a battle of winless teams, 20-25, 25-21, 25-27, 25-11, 15-7.
Howard 3, Atholton 0
Mt. Hebron 3, Oakland Mills 0
Glenelg Country School 3, Friends 1
The Dragons improved to 2-2 with a win over Friends, 19-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-16.
Glenelg Country was led offensively by junior Alexis Foxwell (12 kills), senior Anna Agyeman (4 kills), senior Cecilia Narrett (4 kills) and sophomore Ka'Mari Robinson (3 kills, 17/17 serving). Senior Marguerite Madden was the Dragons' top blocker and sophomore Sarah Gibney (22 assists) guided the offense.
Friday, Sept. 20 results
River Hill 3, Magruder 0
Arundel 3, Centennial 1