By Andrew Conrad, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:45 PM EST, November 4, 2013
The grind continues for the River Hill volleyball team.
After its 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 25-11) win over visiting Wilde Lake (10-6) Monday evening, the Hawks will now host Glenelg (12-2) in Wednesday's 3A East regional semifinal round.
River Hill (13-2) earned the home court for that match by virtue of a 3-1 win over the Gladiators on Sept. 24.
"We're going to have to play hard," River Hill coach Lynn Paynter said. "We need to play aggressive just like we did here all the way through, avoid their better passers which is what we were able to do last time."
Wilde Lake led the first set, 20-18, before River Hill took control with a 7-1 run. The Wildecats went on a 10-1 run late in the second set to even things up, but River Hill never gave the Wildecats a chance in the last two sets.
"In that last set we called plays that we practiced, but we didn't know that we could actually implement them in games," said senior setter Kalala Pines, who finished with 10 assists, six kills and three blocks. "That just turned around the entire set and pushed the momentum our way and we just rolled with it."
Sydni Horner (12 digs) and Keana Richards (three blocks) each finished with 12 kills to lead the Hawks' balanced offense, and Emily Luo added seven kills and four blocks.
Sophomore setter Brianna Davis contributed 20 assists and Hayley Lala added 16 digs.
"The score did not reflect the amount of balls that were back and forth," Paynter said. "The referee said the second game was the best he's seen all season. Unfortunately it was the one we lost, but he said that was the best game between two teams he's seen all season."
Wilde Lake, which won only three matches last season, did not go quietly on Monday night.
Even in the lopsided third and fourth sets, the Wildecats refused to give up on points.
"We just lost a little bit of our energy ... but we fought our hardest and did what we could," said junior Kelly Surkovich, who finished with eight kills, 12 digs and three aces. "Last year we only won three games and this year we won ten, so it was a really big difference. Everyone worked together and it was a really good time ... It was definitely a season that I'll never forget."
Wilde Lake was without head coach Caitlin Williams, who recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Braden, and is on maternity leave. Carole Ferrante and Maria Sweitzer have coached the team in Williams' absence.
The Wildecats also got strong performances from Ellah Ippah (12 kills, 26 digs), Carly Jones (25 digs) and Katie Hines (8 kills, 10 digs and 3 aces).
Glenelg swept Atholton Monday night to advance. The Gladiators were led by Morgan Perry (21 kills, 11 digs), Sarah Girard (12 kills, 16 digs) and Rachael Girard (36 assists, 3 aces).
In Section I of the bracket, Centennial defeated top-seeded Poly, and Mt. Hebron swept City to set up a semifinal showdown at Mt. Hebron on Wednesday.
Howard cruised past visiting Blake Monday evening to advance to a semifinal showdown with three-time defending state champion Sherwood Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Howard.
Calvert swept Hammond Monday night, 25-20, 27-25, 25-15, while Marriotts Ridge fell in five sets at Patuxent.
Catie Chervenak and Shawntel King each had 12 digs, and Lauryn Terry had four kills for Hammond.
The Mustangs ousted Oakland Mills in the opening round to advance, while Hammond defeated McDonough.