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Western Tech volleyball sweeps Dunbar and wins regional title for second time in school history

Western Tech volleyball sweeps Dunbar

Western Tech opened the volleyball season with losses to the two teams that went on to play for the Baltimore County championship, but since those defeats, against Hereford and county champion Towson, the Wolverines reeled off wins in 15 of the past 16 matches.

The latest triumph, a 25-16, 25-7, 25-5 sweep of Dunbar (12-6) gave the Wolverines (15-3) their first regional volleyball title since 2011 and second in the school’s history.

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It was also the Wolverines eighth straight win and ended Dunbar’s winning streak at six.

Western Tech will play in the Class 1A state tournament semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland College Park.

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Against Dunbar, the Wolverines dominated from the service line where they fired 26 aces.

Carley Boarman had six aces and Beatrice Daudelin and Garchet Hatcher had four each to lead the way.

Imari Cooper (5 kills), Brea Thomas and Rachel Durham (3 kills each) led the Wolverines offense.

Emily Badin’s pair of aces helped Western Tech take a 5-0 lead in the first set and they expanded that to 14-2,

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That’s when the Wolverines had their only hiccup of the night after Dunbar rattled off five straight points and cut the lead to 14-7 with Shakeema Jackson on the service line.

“It was a big crowd and I think they felt a little bit of pressure, so I just feel like we weren’t playing the way that we like to play,” Western Tech coach Eric Jett said. “We work all the time on hitting spots. It seemed like early on, we just wanted to hit.”

Cooper knew her teammates could overcome the lapse in the first set.

“Coach always says even though they go on a little run, we don’t want to let that stop us, we just want to take that as a lesson and keep going,” Cooper said.

A missed serve gave the Wolverines possession and two aces by Cooper pushed the lead to 18-9.

They eventually closed it out on a block by Durham.

Daudelin started the second set with three straight aces and, with the Wolverines leading 4-2, Thomas went to work in the center of the court with three consecutive kills.

“I was really happy when that happened because, at first, I kept missing the ball, but then I was just confident,” Thomas said. “I just wanted to show the crowd that I could do it.”

Boarman had five aces out of six serves to help the Wolverines pull away in the middle of the set and win easily.

Jett praised the aggressive serving of Boarman and Daudelin.

“That is probably underrated in our game,” Jett said. “They go for their serves and they are serving at a high percentage now.”

Dunbar was tied 2-2 in the third set when a kill by Avaion Barry gave the Wolverines possession and began a run of 13 straight points for a 15-2 lead for the Wolverines.

Barry served the first four points and had two aces and Hatcher came off the bench and served the final eight.

Reserves Maya Thurston and Fatima Khan ended the match with kills.

After it was over, 5-foot-4-inch senior hitter Cooper was clutching the championship plaque tight.

“I was a little nervous at first, but I know that we are a great team from the beginning and I just think we got better,” said Cooper, who started playing volleyball as a sophomore and was promoted to the varsity during the season.

Staying loose was one of the keys to victory for Thomas.

“We had to not be nervous and fight our hardest and just play hard and have fun,” said Thomas, who credits her coach for keeping up her intensity. “I really owe it all to Jett because he really encourages us all the time and he pushes us to be the greatest that we can and I really appreciate it. Honestly, I wouldn’t be playing as hard as I could if it wasn’t for him.”

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