Reservoir volleyball didn’t face a lot of adversity at Glenelg on Tuesday, but when it did late in the second set, the light bulb went off.
“We’ve been doing that,” said Gators coach Jamie Bullock after her team’s 25-13, 27-25, 25-19 win. “We have had our backs against the wall multiple times this season where [the opponent] got 24, and it gets figured out. How bad do you want this game? And they want it. It’s been so great to have that feeling.”
Glenelg got four straight kills late in the second set to take a 24-22 lead, but Reservoir senior Brooke Saunderson showed off her skill set and pushed the Gators to come back. She had a kill and a block on back-to-back points to tie the set at 24, and four points later she closed out the set with an ace.
“We’re so glad to have her back. ... Her serve is electrifying,” Bullock said of Saunderson, who missed all of last season with an injury. “She is also a great hustler. She loves this game and she loves to work for her team and it’s just fabulous to have her back.”
Saunderson, though, spent much of the match passing to senior Amaka Chukwujekwu, a 6-foot middle blocker who carried the Gators offensively. She had at least 10 kills in each of her first four matches, and against Glenelg she finished with 12 to help the Gators improve to 5-0. They are the last undefeated team in the county after Wilde Lake lost to Howard on Tuesday.
“It’s been impressive. [Amaka] really has just taken the team on her back, and her and Brooke have been able to run it,” Bullock said. “But we know that when we can’t pass, she can’t look good. So the whole teams knows we’re a part of it even if she’s getting the big final kill, we’re all a part of it.”
Chukwujekwu got things going early. She had three kills in the first 11 points of the match and, up 8-3, Reservoir won nine of the next 12 points to take a 17-6 advantage. Chukwujekwu had three more kills to help the Gators win the first set, 25-13.
The Gladiators got off to a much better start in the second set. They won six straight points early to take a 10-6 lead, which forced the Gators to call a timeout. Reservoir, however, regrouped well and tied the set at 11, and neither team led by more than two the rest of the way.
“The biggest different between the second and the first set was we got off to a better start,” said Glenelg coach Jason Monjes. “I think they shell shocked us with their serving and they took us out of system really quickly. I think seeing obviously those big offensive hitters that Reservoir has kind of intimidated us a little bit, so you put yourselves too many points behind.”
The third set was similar to the second in that neither team jumped out to a commandings lead early. But with the Gladiators ahead 13-10, Reservoir took its game to another gear and won 10 of the next 12 points and finished off the straight-set victory.
Saunderson finished with 26 assists, eight digs and five aces, while Chukwujekwu also had eight digs to go with her double-digit kills. Sophomore Sydney Allen led the team with nine digs and pitched in seven kills, and junior Enitan Omolewa added six.
Kara Crawford led Glenelg with 14 kills, while Maddie Southern had 26 assists and 12 digs. Sarah Santiago added seven kills and three digs.
Monjes said his team is still young and struggled to close out sets because of the inexperience. He added that matching up with the Gators’ size and power was tough as well.
“We just happened to not finish,” he said. “When the game got close, we were playing a team not to lose, and Reservoir – just watching them today they seem like they were more comfortable. We are still in the thought process of what do we do after this play.
"We’re still trying to put everything together, and still it’s early in the season and I know we have time to fix things.”
Reservoir has a tournament at Oakdale this weekend and will put its undefeated record on the line against Old Mill on Tuesday, while Glenelg hosts Annapolis.
Reservoir (3-0 county, 5-0 overall) def. Glenelg (1-2, 3-2), 3-0 [25-13, 27-25, 25-19]
Mt. Hebron (2-1, 4-1) def. Atholton (2-1, 3-2), 3-2 [25-16, 18-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-11]
Mt. Hebron stats: Elayna Williams (29 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace), Amanda Ross (5 kills, 1 ace), Kaitlin Donovan (9 kills, 1 ace), Megan Scarbath (3 kills, 1 block)
Atholton stats: Lisa Zoch (19 kills, 11 digs 4 aces), Elise Park (12 digs, 1 ace), Sam Miller (15 kills, 15 digs, 2 aces, ½ block), Hope Kelly (1 kill, 20 assists, 3 digs 1 ace), Kelly Simons (2 kills, 20 assists, ½ block), Brooke Mason (6 kills, 1 assist, 1 dig, 2 ½ blocks), Nikita Rajarajan (2 kills, 1 assist, 2 ½ blocks)
Howard (3-0, 4-1) def. Wilde Lake (2-1, 4-1), 3-0 [25-19,-25-19, 25-22]
Howard stats: Sarah Sweet (8 kills, 4 aces, 10 digs), Anna Jeserski (11 kills), Christina Kundrat (2 kills, 3 blocks, 3 aces), Grace Sweet (9 digs), Julia McKenna (23 assists, 7 digs)
Wilde Lake stats: Sydney Tucker (10 kills, 1 ace), Camille Johnson (8 kills, 3 aces, 17 digs), Rachel Eisenhauer (4 kills), Emma Jordan (12 digs), Faith Leslie (11 digs, 22 assists, 1 ace)
Long Reach (1-2, 3-3) def. Hammond (0-3, 2-3), 3-0 [25-17, 25-15, 25-23]
Long Reach stats: Rachel Dotson (8 aces, 4 kills, 1 dig), Angelina Casserly (9 kills, 3 aces, 2 digs, 3 blocks), Grace Kelly (17 assists, 5 aces, 4 digs), Rachel Jacavage (6 digs)
Hammond stats: Imani Reid (5 kills, 2 blocks), Nailah Melvin (3 kills, 4 aces)
River Hill (2-1, 2-3) def. Oakland Mills (0-3, 2-3), 3-1 [12-25, 20-25, 25-19, 10-25]
Oakland Mills stats: Merina Seldon (1 ace, 12 digs), Shay Shoumni (15 assists, 9 digs), Naimah Jangha (4 kills, 2 blocks), Nya Lightfoot (7 kills, 1 ace, 4 digs), Alana Joseph (3 kills, 9 digs)
Fellowship of Christian Athletes def. Glenelg Country School (1-2 IAAM C, 2-3), 3-0 [25-18, 25-11, 25-9]
Glenelg Country School stats: Sophoa Jalali (2 kills, 2 aces), Joy Hursey (2 kills, 1 block), Uchenna Nwodim (1 kill), Sabrina Jackson (1 kill), Jaicyn London (1 kill), Jordan Daitch (4 assists)
Centennial (2-1, 3-2) def. Marriotts Ridge (0-3, 2-3), 3-0 [25-11, 25-19, 25-16]
Glenelg (1-1, 3-1) def. North County, 3-0 [25-14, 25-10, 25-10]
Glenelg stats: Kara Crawford (11 kills, 2 aces), Colleen McAuley (5 kills, 2 aces), Maddie Southern (27 assists), Alex Wood (5 aces, 11 digs)
Oldfield School def. Glenelg Country School (1-2 IAAM C, 2-2), 3-2 [21-25, 25-23, 12-25, 25-22, 15-11]
Glenelg Country School stats: Joy Hursey (8 kills, 2 aces), Asya Loeb (7 kills, 9 aces, 8 assists), Sophia Jalali (5 kills, 12 aces), Uchenna Nwodim (4 kills), Jaicyn London (4 kills), Jordan Daitch (2 kills, 2 aces, 6 assists), Sabrina Jackson (1 kill, 2 aces), Katelyn Park (2 aces)
Pallotti def. Chapelgate (2-1 IAAM B, 4-3), 3-2