Broadneck coach Dave Verostic preaches mental toughness to his girls at every practice. His lessons were put to the test on Wednesday.
The third-ranked Bruins (11-1) survived five match points to defeat visiting and ninth-ranked Arundel (10-2) in a five-set thriller, 22-25, 16-25, 31-29, 26-24, 15-7.
"This game showed our mental toughness," said Broadneck hitter Carley Cleland (12 kills). "When the outcome was in doubt, we came back and showed what we were made of. We had that drive to come back."
In the beginning, it didn't look like it would be the Bruins' night. Several of their early wounds were self-inflicted, and Arundel was more than happy to capitalize.
Serving was the undoing for the Bruins in the first set. Broadneck committed nine service errors, but still managed to stay competitive. Arundel kills by Emily Durocher (14 assists, 9 digs) and Allie Orr (18 kills) late in the set broke up a 21-21 tie, and gave the Wildcats a 25-22 win.
The Bruins looked a little shell-shocked early in the second set, and Arundel made them pay. The Wildcats, behind six service winners by Adrianna Hadloc, raced to a 12-6 lead and never looked back en route to a 25-16 win.
Broadneck trailed by four, 21-17, in the third set, but the Bruins used the serving of Amanda Sanabia to rally and tie the set at 22-22. Broadneck then fought off five match points to take the third set.
The fourth set closely mirrored the third. Arundel held a 19-16 lead before Broadneck rallied to tie the score at 21-21. The Bruins used kills by Francesca Howard, Maria Lim (11 kills) and a key block by Jordyn Beans (33 assists) to take the set 26-24, and even the match at two sets a piece.
Broadneck raced out to a 6-2 lead in the fifth set, on a Dallas Jasper kill, and the Wildcats never got closer than two points after that.
"Give Arundel credit," said Verostic. "We played awful in the first two sets, and they played wonderfully. They have a great program, and I have a ton of respect for [their coach] Ashley [Yuscavage] and their players. They gave us all we could handle."
"We just couldn't afford to make mistakes in a game like this, and we made too many of them at the end," said Yuscavage. "We were moving a little faster than they were early, but that switched as the game went on."
For Broadneck, the win puts them in the driver's seat in Anne Arundel County with a little over two weeks to play in the regular season.
"We'll celebrate this one tonight, but then it's back to work," Verostic said. We have a tough South River team next week, and this region is still wide open. Anything can happen."