Volleyball: Bobnar, Falcons bounce Liberty in county opener

Last fall, Winters Mill’s volleyball season ended with a four-set defeat to county foe Liberty in the Class 2A West Region sectional semifinals.

With an offseason to regroup and shake off any disappointment, the Falcons came into a new season focused, knowing they’d have a chance to get a little revenge.


On Tuesday night, they did just that.

Winters Mill outlasted Liberty 27-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-13, earning its second win of the season in the Carroll County Athletic League opener for both teams.

“It’s big,” said senior hitter Ashley Bobnar, who led Winters Mill with 13 kills. “Every year we’ve always wanted to beat them. They’re amazing, they’re a great team. We’ve been waiting for this year because all of us seniors have been playing every year.”

“We’re just really excited to be together and play them … and I think it showed on the court.”

After suffering a fracture in her neck six months ago, Bobnar said she finally felt like herself on the court and her play made the difference.

Winters Mill needed extra points to capture a tightly contested first set and following a diving dig from senior libero Kayla Vaeth — one of 13 on the night — Bobnar tapped the ball over two Lions’ blockers, ending an intense rally.

The set-winning point ignited a cheer from the bench and the surrounding home crowd.

Up 14-13 in the second set, Bobnar landed a spike on the right side of Liberty’s defense, sparking a five-point run, one of many that Falcons used to create separation and set themselves up for the sweep.

But strong play from Lydia Leiner and Grace Bauer kept Liberty hanging around. Leiner – a Times first-team selection last season – tallied a game-high 22 kills, and her powerful strikes at the net helped Liberty inch out a third-set victory.

Winters Mill claimed the match in the fourth, however.

“We’re still trying to figure out our lineup and what works best for our kids,” Lions coach Michael Rainbow said. “We’re not interested in W’s and L’s right now, we’re more interested in seeing that our kids are growing from day-to-day. If they’re growing right now, I’m happy.”

Winters Mill teammates, from left, Jordan Badorrek, Kayla Vaeth and Brynn Choplin celebrate their win against Liberty in Westminster Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018.
Winters Mill teammates, from left, Jordan Badorrek, Kayla Vaeth and Brynn Choplin celebrate their win against Liberty in Westminster Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Ali Whitworth handed out 11 assists for Liberty, while Riley Sams added 10 digs and four aces.

Despite a push from the opposition, the Falcons kept their composure. Two aces from Vaeth helped spark a 5-1 run and Winters Mill played its best volleyball at the opportune time, extending the lead to double digits in the fourth set en route to victory.

Jordan Badorrek totaled 27 assists for the Falcons.


WM coach Kari Totten said she couldn’t have been more pleased with her team’s start.

“I saw them come together and play like we know how they can,” said Totten, in her fifth season as coach. “They came together they were a solid team and I’m just so proud of them. They did awesome.

“They’re resilient. They are extremely strong on and off the court and they came to win.”

A close unit, both Totten and Bobnar credited the Falcons’ success to chemistry on and off the court.

It’s something they hope can propel them to a successful season.

“I hope it’s telling for the rest of the season,” Totten said. “I hope we keep this momentum.”