Maryvale Prep volleyball changes things up after dropping first set, beats Archbishop Spalding, 3-1

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Maryvale Prep, whose players are shown in a game earlier this season, rallied after dropping the first set to beat Spalding in four sets.

The libero position in volleyball does not get the recognition it probably should. Wednesday night, Maryvale Prep saw just how important it was.

After falling behind a set to Archbishop Spalding, Lions coach Missy Little inserted freshman Victoria Small as libero. The move, which improved the defense and serve-receive, paid dividends almost immediately as the host Lions rallied to win the next three sets and defeat the Cavaliers, 22-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-18, in a key Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.


“I think we had a lot of nerves to start. We’ve been starting a little bit flat,” Maryvale coach Missy Little said. “I changed up the lineup a little bit. I have two exceptional liberos and I felt like the freshman, Victoria, was playing exceptional defense, so I made the change and it paid off.

Spalding (1-4, 0-1), which saw a lot of balls fall into open areas on the floor in the first set, couldn’t find the same holes in the next three.


Jessica Gogol led the Lions with 14 kills and four blocks, while Maya Mauro led Spalding with 10 kills.

“We’ve got a young team that is still learning,” Cavaliers coach Corby Lawrence said. “They made some smart adjustments in the second set and we had a lot of trouble hitting around their blocks. We didn’t execute a very clean offense after that. They out serve-received us.”

If Spalding was intimidated by the environment at Maryvale, it sure didn’t show it in the first set. The Cavaliers held the lead for the entire first set, using some timely blocking and finding holes in the Maryvale defense. Maryvale managed to cut the lead to 22-20 late in the set, but Spalding got kills by Maura and a block by Ashlee Overley down the stretch to close out the set, 25-22.

The second set was close, but Maryvale (2-1, 1-0) managed to get a block from Samantha Elliott, a kill from Gogol and an ace from Kaitlyn Hall to widen the lead to 12-8. The Lions managed to expand the lead to five at 20-15 on a Spalding service error, then held the Cavaliers scoreless for the rest of the set to win 25-15.

Spalding played better in the third set, using a Maryvale net violation to tie the set at 16. From that point, it was all Maryvale, as the Lions used two serving aces by Autumn Marinelli to outscore Spalding 9-4 the rest of the way, and win the set 25-20.

Maryvale Prep led the fourth set from beginning to end, building a 5-1 lead before taking the set and the match, 25-18.

“It feels great to beat them,” Small said. “I’m a freshman, but we know what a great team they are so I know this is a big deal for us. It’s very rewarding for me as a player.”

For Gogol, a junior, the experience the Lions had helped them when things got a little dicey in the first set.


“It is hard when you get down, but this was a big match so we just had to go for it,’ she said. We were as aggressive as possible [on offense] in the last three sets and it paid off for us. We still have some things to work on, but I like where we are right now.”

Maryvale Prep d. Archbishop Spalding 22-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-18