Western Tech's Beatrice Daudelin prepares to serve in the Wolverines' 30-28, 25-15, 25-15 win over Catonsville. Daudelin finished with seven aces.
Western Tech's Beatrice Daudelin prepares to serve in the Wolverines' 30-28, 25-15, 25-15 win over Catonsville. Daudelin finished with seven aces. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

There were 58 points scored in the first set of the volleyball match at Western Tech and when the tension was finally over the host Wolverines emerged with a 30-28 victory over Catonsville.

The Wolverines went on the sweep the match, winning the final two sets, 25-15, 25-15.

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It was the third year in a row the Wolverines (8-2) defeated the Comets (6-4).

Before that 2017 triumph, Western Tech had never beat Catonsville in school history.

Catonsville came out strong and marched to a 15-9 lead on solid hitting from Sophi Wrisk and Sylvia Johnson and strong setting from Maddi Sampson.

Johnson had four of her team-high five kills in the first set and Wrisk had all three of her kills in that set.

Consecutive aces from Western Tech’s Anisah Weaver cut into the lead, but Johnson’s ace made it 17-13.

After a missed serve pulled the Wolverines within three, Jazmyne Carr took over on the service line and the Wolves scored six straight points for a 20-17 lead.

Rachael Durham had two kills and Avaion Barry and Weaver had kills.

That trio would all finish with six kills each in the match.

Trailing 22-18, Catonsville made its comeback.

It started with a communication error from the Wolverines and continued with an ace by Wrisk, making it 22-20.

After a Western Tech time out, the Comets tied it after a pair of hitting errors.

Western Tech took the lead but Wrisk’s kill tied it a 23-23.

A tandem block by Maddi McLean (four kills) and Johnson gave the Comets a 24-23, but set point was denied on a kill by Barry.

A kill by Weaver gave the Wolverines a 25-24 lead, but a net violation during a Samspon tip tied it again.

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Catonsville had two more set points, but couldn’t close the deal and the Wolverines won the final two points on a service error and hitting error.

Catonsville's Maddi Sampson had four aces for the Comets in their loss to Western Tech.
Catonsville's Maddi Sampson had four aces for the Comets in their loss to Western Tech. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

“It was stressful,” Western Tech setter Beatrice Daudelin said. “Every time they would get the ball we were making errors into the net and my heart was dropping, I was expecting that we were going to have to take it to four or five or whatever.”

Daudelin drew some energy from the epic win and carried it to the service line in set two.

Sheri Adewumi’s kill earned a side out and 1-0 lead and Daudelin followed by serving six straight points, including four aces.

“It was momentum,” Daudelin said. “We were feeling it because we won in overtime in that first set.”

Western Tech coach Eric Jett noted Daudelin’s serving excellence was more then momentum.

“She moves it around on purpose. You could tell she pushed them back and then she dropped them short,” Jett said. “She was trying to get them guessing. It’s a really good idea and she does a good job of it.”

Catonsville never recovered from the heart-breaking first set as its offense produced only five kills in the final two sets, after notching 10 in the first set.

“I think our confidence just tends to waver and that impacts our ability to run our offense and going into the season, that’s one thing that I told my team, is that we need to be consistent with running our offense and unfortunately tonight we were not consistent at all,” Catonsville coach Tonya Feaster said.

Western Tech’s Jett, whose squad’s only losses were to Dulaney and Hereford, knows about inconsistency.

“We have a hard time starting, but it’s okay because we know they have to grit it out and you rely on your grit and scrappiness and your defense and usually when you do that, it will pull you back into it emotionally,”Jett said.

The spirited crowd representing both local rivals could have been a factor for the early nerves and eventually the strong finish.

“Part of it is the home advantage,” Daudelin said. “We had a ton of fans come out today and like all the Catonsville parents came and all the Western parents came because it’s close and it was a really loud game, so we were feeling that too.”

Catonsville did take a 6-2 lead early in the third set on thanks to four consecutive service aces by Sampson.

Western Tech eventually rallied to tie at 10-10 before they scored five straight points and they never trailed again.

Imani Ward started the rally with a pair of aces and that was followed by a kill from Weaver, block by Daudelin and kill from Barry.

“We always go into Western Tech knowing they are going to be scrappy,” Feaster said. “They also have great hitters and they can hit the ball straight down.”

Jett is still fine-tuning his faster offense as the postseason nears.

“We are trying to get better and we need to do that and you saw what it could do today, not only were our middles hitting well, but that absolutely froze their blocker and our strong side hitter constantly had a gap of four feet to hit and my weak-side hitter, nobody even went over there,” Jett said. “That’s exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to be able to run middle because those are my two best hitters, but I’ve got some good hitters on the outside.”

Daudelin certainly appreciates those hitters.

“That offense is going really well,” she said. “I’m putting the ball in some spots and they can hit it great and they are obviously killing it.”

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