As the top-ranked team, the Arundel girls volleyball team understands nothing is handed to them.
"We still have to prove we are good," said Arundel senior Ashlee Felton (nine kills, four blocks). "We lost a lot from last year, but that just makes us want it all the more."
If the Wildcats (11-0, 8-0) were lacking, they sure didn't show it Monday night as they recorded a three-set sweep over visiting No. 13 South River, 25-17, 25-17, 25-10 in an Anne Arundel league game.
Last year's Arundel team made it to the Class 4A state finals before dropping a match to undefeated Sherwood. But Arundel is using a different approach this season.
"We win a little different this year," Felton said. "We had a lot of height and power last year. We are more of a scrappy team this year."
After a slow start in the first set, the Wildcats used kills by Gabrielle Bryant and Sam Hebb (six kills, three aces), as well as a block by Shannon Kelly (11 kills) to break open a 7-7 tie and take a 10-7 lead. After the Seahawks (8-3, 8-1) closed the lead to 10-9, Arundel used strong serving and their scrappy defense to build a 16-11 lead. They outscored South River 9-6 the rest of the way.
In the second set, South River — led by sophomore Madison Carter (12 kills) — kept the score close, trailing only 20-17. At that point, Arundel coach Ashley Yuscavage brought in freshman Adrianna Hadloc to serve. She promptly recorded five straight points — including an ace — to give Arundel the set.
The third set was all Arundel. The Wildcats never trailed in the set, and rode 10 service winners by Lily Glenn to an easy 25-10 win.
"We put up some solid blocking and ran our offense a little faster than they did," Yuscavage said. "We've been working really hard lately, and we have some girls committed to making this work."
The win sets up a showdown with No. 4 Severna Park on Oct. 25 at Arundel. Yuscavage says she's looking forward to the challenge.
"We're really excited," Yuscavage said. "We have a good relationship with their team, and they have some phenomenal players. It will be our senior night, and it should be a great match."
Arundel d South River 25-17, 25-17, 25-10.