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Western Tech senior setter Beatrice Daudelin, center, leads her team in celebration in the Wolverines four-set victory in the Class 1A state volleyball semifinals.
Western Tech senior setter Beatrice Daudelin, center, leads her team in celebration in the Wolverines four-set victory in the Class 1A state volleyball semifinals. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

Western Tech (15-2) returns to the Class 1A volleyball final four for the third year in a row after a 25-14, 24-26, 25-13, 25-8 victory over McDonough (5-13) in the state quarterfinals.

Western Tech will play Smithsburg at 5:30 or 7:30 on Monday, Nov. 11 at College Park’s Ritchie Coliseum.

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The host Wolverines delivered 26 aces, with Beatrice Daudelin (seven), Imani Ward (five) and Avaion Barry (four) leading the way.

Anisah Weaver had eight kills, Rachael Durham added six and Sheri Adewumi had five for the winners.

On a team with eight seniors on the roster, the momentum changer in the first set came from freshman Imani Ward.

When she toed the line, the Wolverines led 7-6, and when she left it was 15-7.

During her roll, she had four aces. Some were floaters and some aimed with precision.

Western Tech freshman Imani Ward had five aces in the Wolverines win over McDonough in the state quarterfinals.
Western Tech freshman Imani Ward had five aces in the Wolverines win over McDonough in the state quarterfinals. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

Durham had a kill and Weaver contributed a block during the run.

The Wolverines finished with 12 aces in the set as Weaver, Durham and Barry contributed two and Jazmyne Carr and and Daudelin had one.

“We’ve got some servers. We’ve got some girls that go for it,” Western Tech coach Eric Jett said. “When Beatrice, Avaion, Anisah and Imani get it going, they can be tough.”

Ward didn’t feel the pressure of the playoff atmosphere, instead, she soaked it in.

“It was the adrenaline of the crowd, so I kind of fed off of that,” Ward said.

“In the first game that run was huge,” Jett said. “That’s a nice luxury to have.” What the Wolverines did so well in the first set deserted them in the second when they missed seven serves and lost.

“It was contagious, so we really tried to focus in the third set, even if it was just a safe serve, just get it in and then dial it up a little bit,” Durham said.

McDonough served up six of its eight aces in the second set with Darian Taylor get three and Gilliam Cayabayab, Trinity Barrett and Jayln Smoot getting one each.

Give them credit, they didn’t miss a serve in game two,” Jett said.

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Weaver and Durham had three kills each in the second set, but the Rams got a pair of kills from Taylor and clutch serving from Barrett in the end.

She had an ace to give the Rams a 25-24 lead and another tough serve forced an error for set point.

“They changed their strategy a bit (in set two) and we were never able to grab the momentum,” Jett said.

McDonough only had seven kills in the final two sets and the Wolverines yielded just 21 points.

Setter Daudelin had six aces in the final two sets and two of her four kills in the third set.

Daudelin served 10 straight winning points in the fourth set to give the Wolverines an 11-1 lead after it was deadlocked at 1-1. The first three points were aces.

Daudelin and middle hitter Adewumi were also in synch.

Adewumi had three of her five kills in the final set and she also assisted Ward for a kill with a bump set.

Durham ended the final set with a jump serve for an ace.

“I was like, I’m going to go for it because it’s the last point,” Durham said.

“As far as that game with Sheri, we try and impress upon that because we were just hitting all day, you mix shots up, not only do you score the point, but you keep the defense where you want them,” Jett said. “She dinked over that triple block one time, which was wide open, on the next shot I told her, ‘You’ve got to go to the side now, because I’m sure their coach was watching’ and sure enough they crashed on her and she goes up with an open hand and they crashed and she went that way and there was nobody near her.”

Adewumi was just glad to contribute.

“They were double blocking me and triple blocking me, and it took a little adjusting to because I never really expected it, but Jett is just an amazing coach, like he really kept me in it because I felt like I was having a bad game because I didn’t really adjust and I started to adjust to it and I felt good,” she said.

She also feels good about this team.

“If I’m going to be honest, this team is a different team then when I went sophomore year, the energy is just like crazy,” Adewumi said. “I believe they are like a family. I’m going to be so sad when the season ends and I think that is our key as long as we keep each other up and we keep that momentum, then nobody can stop us because we fight and that’s what we do every day in practice, we fight for every point and every ball.”

Jett is taking his fourth team to the final four, the first two lost in the semis and last year’s 17-3 squad fell in the finals.

“I don’t care if it’s Fort Hill or Smithsburg, they are both very good, so we are just going to try to open up our bag of tricks because they have a lot of experience over there,” he said.

Freshman Ward is just happy to be going for the first time.

“I’m really excited. This is the first opportunity and I might never get to go again, so I’m going to make the best out of it,” she said.

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