There was no “second-set curse” Wednesday night for the Patapsco volleyball team.
Led by a strong serving effort from senior Ellie Brown, Patapsco picked up consecutive dominant wins in the match’s first two sets on the way to a 3-1 road victory over Randallstown.
“Last year, we had a saying where we were a second-set curse, because we would always win the first set, get hyped and say, ‘We can do this’ a little too much,” Brown said. “Then the second set we’d go out there and we’d let our game slip. ... So we’ve just been trying to push through all of our sets this year.”
Patapsco’s 25-15, 25-11, 23-25, 25-22 victory over the Rams keeps them unbeaten at 5-0 heading into a home match with New Town on Friday. The Patriots have outpaced its opponents 15-5 in sets through five matches this year.
Randallstown falls to 3-2 on the year. The Rams host Lansdowne on Friday.
Patapsco’s serving, according to ninth-year coach Eric Rogers, isn’t always so dominant. But when it’s on, it’s really on.
For Brown in particular, serving is one of her strong suits. She even has a set routine to get her in rhythm. Luckily for her, her routine wasn’t disturbed and neither was her timing.
“I have a little routine,” a smiling Brown said. “Three bounces after the whistle, always. Otherwise, it will all be off. … I feel like serving is a really crucial part of the game and for me, personally, my serves are the best part of my game. I like to use it as motivation, especially when you’re serving first and looking to get off to a fast start.”
After jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead behind Brown’s service, Patapsco never trailed in the opening set leading by as many as eight points. The Patriots tallied eight of the last 11 points of the set for the 25-15 win.
The second set proved even more dominant for the Patriots, leading by as many as 14 on the way to a 25-11 win and a 2-0 cushion.
Brown wasn’t the only Patriot who was strong at the service line. Between Brown and her senior teammates Gretchen Siegert, Jenna Darby, Aarchi Patel, Emily Stollings and Victoria Urben, the Patriots combined for nearly 20 aces through the first two sets.
Following double-digit losses in the first and second sets, and coming within four points of being swept, Randallstown battled its way back from a 21-17 deficit in the third set. The Rams finished the set on an 8-2 run to notch the 25-23 set win and send the match to a fourth set.
“I give it to Randallstown, they don’t give up ... at all,” Rogers said. “The third set, fourth set, they were ready to battle. They really stepped their game, their energy and their serves up. It was a great job by them.
“I try to keep track [of records], but you can never tell how a team is going to push another team. What kind of fight they’re going to have, you can’t judge by another match. I just knew that we needed to get our serves in tonight.”
The Rams forced the fourth set with a 25-23 victory, and nearly forced a deciding fifth set. In the end, though, Patapsco finished exactly how it started: strong serving.
The Patriots scored four of the final five points of the night, clinching the match with a 25-22 victory. Sophomore Aashyah deVries notched the deciding point to put the finishing touches on the team’s fifth win.