Volleyball: Westminster rolls North Hagerstown to repeat as Class 3A West champions

Westminster volleyball wins 3A West title

There were times during Friday’s Class 3A West Region final where Westminster’s volleyball players moved around the court with the fluidity of a college team.

At least that’s how it felt inside the Owls’ gymnasium, where the home team took care of North Hagerstown in straight sets to repeat as regional champions.


Westminster won 25-9, 25-20, 25-14 in a match that lasted about an hour and improved to 16-1. The Owls advance to the 3A state semifinals Wednesday at University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum.

“We just brought all of our energy, all of or focus,” said senior setter Emily Bartlett. “We just went all out.”

Westminster won its 12th consecutive match thanks to a collective effort — Bartlett handed out 34 assists and let her big hitters do the damage.

And they did. Junior Jilienne Widener led the way with 21 kills, sophomore Sabina Rinda had six kills, and senior Tatum Keck had five.

The Owls served up 17 aces as well, with senior Shelby Cheuvront collecting five and junior Kasey Thomas posting four.

And they played solid defense too. Rinda and Thomas totaled eight digs apiece, Widener and Bartlett had six each, and Keck had three blocks.

“It just kind of clicked together,” Bartlett said, “which was really great.”

Westminster made its statement from the start. Thomas posted a pair of aces in her first turn serving, and the Owls led 4-0. At 11-5, the Hubs called their first timeout. It didn’t matter — blocks from Widener and Keck put the hosts ahead 20-9 en route to the lead.

North (14-4) led early in the second, behind strong play from sophomore Drew Wallech and juniors Chloe Coulter and Katie Jordan, before the Owls assumed control.

Westminster felt the momentum shift. And Widener said she took a few moments to soak it in.

“It’s so amazing,” she said. “You just get to play volleyball with your best friends and that’s the best part about it. It’s a great sport, I love it.”

Keck notched a block early in the third set that gave Westminster a 6-1 lead, and when Widener used keen vision to slam home a cross-court kill that landed in the near right corner, the Owls were up 15-7.

Cheuvront landed an ace that made it 18-7. Jackie Karcz, a sophomore defensive specialist and one of her team’s top servers, dropped in an ace a few points later.

Keck’s kill on match point ended things, with the Owls rushing the court to celebrate with another piece of hardware. Westminster earned its third regional title, all of which have come since 2014.


Owls coach Ed Benish said his team played its best volleyball this week, from its 3-0 win over Magruder in the sectional final Wednesday to Friday’s impressive performance. And that’s what Westminster needs heading into a state semifinal matchup, Benish said — the Owls will face Atholton, the 3A East champ, next week.

“Two of our best, most cohesive matches for sure,” Benish said. “And I think the biggest thing that has been consistent throughout the match is that next-play mentality. It doesn’t matter what happened the play before, you’ve got to move on and you focus on this one.”