Though one team won and another lost, both the Atholton and Broadneck volleyball teams left Broadneck’s gymnasium on Tuesday feeling accomplished.
Howard County’s Atholton, the defending Class 3A state champions, fought through three tight games and swept the Bruins, 25-19, 25-19, 27-25. The Raiders won their fourth straight match to start the season and improved to 3-2 against Anne Arundel County teams over the last two years. They’ll play Arundel, the defending Class 4A East Region champion, on Sept. 25.
“Overall, we played really well. I was happy with the way we covered,” Atholton coach Rob Moy said. “We’ve worked out some of our biggest issues and our hitting has improved.”
Lisa Zoch, one of the key pieces of last year’s championship team, led the Raiders with 13 kills and a block. She had six of her kills in the first set to get Atholton (4-0) started.
“Lisa is always hitting the ball in the right place,” Moy said. “Everyone else basically did what they normally do, but I think Lisa probably stepped up more than anyone else.”
The Bruins, meanwhile, weren’t focusing on the fact they were playing a team coming off a state title. Instead, they wanted to worry about their game. Despite the loss, Bruins’ coach Tracey Regalbuto felt they accomplished some things.
“We had a couple of things we were working on tonight as a team, more about ourselves rather that what was across the net,” she said. “We accomplished a couple things we were working on, so I was happy about that.”
The first set featured nine ties, but the Raiders pulled away after the teams were tied at 11. Sabrina Lagomarsino served six straight points, including one of her six aces. Zoch had three of her kills during the run.
After trailing by six, the Bruins pulled with three at 17-14, but Brooke Mason (six kills) and Kelly Simons (two kills, two blocks) each had two kills down the stretch to give the Raiders the set.
After Atholton took the second set, also 25-19, it scored the first six points of the third, with Lagomarsino serving five, and appeared to be in control to secure the sweep. The Bruins kept chipping away and eventually evened the set at 12. Lagomarsino served five more points to put Atholton up, 18-13, before the Bruins rallied again.
Atholton took a 25-24 lead and was serving for the match, but the Bruins stayed alive on a kill from Emma Quandt, but after a Broadneck (1-2) error and a kill from Ryan Rorls, Atholton avoided going to a fourth set.
“I think we got a little too comfortable,” Moy said. “That’s something we can’t afford to do.”
Rorls added six kills, Chanelle Smith and Nikita Rajarajan each had three, Lagomarsino had 15 assists and Hannah Duncan added 13 assists for the Raiders.
Makena Smith had five kills and 22 assists, Brittney Guy (three digs) and Quandt each had five kills and Gabrielle Ludlum had 10 digs for the Bruins, who were done in by a poor showing at the service line.
“We just made a lot of serving errors,” Regalbuto said. “We served very poorly tonight, so that didn’t help us much.”