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Westminster volleyball sweeps Liberty to wrap up Carroll County title

Westminster volleyball put its depth on display in a dominating straight sets victory over Liberty to clinch the county championship Tuesday.

Sophomore Emma Reaves helped Westminster take control early with six kills during a decisive first set win and the Owls rolled from there. In the 3-0 victory, the scores were 25-15, 25-11 and 25-10 in favor of Westminster.

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“We were able to spread out the offense tonight,” Westminster head coach Evan Frock said. “Our middles did a great job keeping their block in the middle to open up our outside. It was definitely an all-around team win.”

It was the 40th straight county victory for Westminster (11-0, 13-0) and a fifth straight county title. Reaves said this title feels even more special due to last year being so unusual with the pandemic wreaking havoc on the county season.

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“It’s surreal,” Reaves said. “It’s such an amazing feeling. Last year, I was here for our other county championship. Now with it not being covid and playing [a full season], it’s amazing.”

Things stayed close early as Liberty (9-2, 10-2) hung around in the first set, trailing just 8-6. Reaves sparked a big run by the Owls with a block and then finished four out of the next five points as Westminster stretched to a 13-6 lead.

Senior CiCi Mason had a block and a kill, while junior Payton Bell had another block to help quell a late Liberty rally and the Owls closed out the first set with a 25-15 victory.

Faith Mohr was an impact player in the center for the Owls with 33 assists in the contest. Frock credited Mohr and others with putting together one of the Owls’ best passing games of the season.

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“Our passing was fantastic today,” Frock said. “That let [us] set the middles, which opened up the outside. So, we had kind of free rein where we wanted to go with our offense.”

Senior Cassi Shields had a quiet first set with a pair of unforced errors, but she came to life in the second set at the service line. The senior blasted four straight aces that took an early one-point lead and stretched it to five during a big run by the Owls in the middle of the game.

Shields picked up four more kills as the Owls rolled to a 25-12 second-set victory. Westminster carried the momentum into the third and pushed to an early 10-point advantage before closing out the set and the match with a 25-10 win.

Paige Coulson (4 kills, 1 ace, and 17 digs) led the attack for the Lions to help Liberty stay close early, while Sarah Hart (11 kills, 1 ace, 3 digs) played well along the front line. Junior Jenna Liska contributed a kill and 7 digs.

A frustrated Lions’ head coach Sheri Hagan appreciated the way her team handled a hostile environment. She voiced her disappointment in the sportsmanship shown by the Westminster faithful.

“We played a classy game — they did not,” Hagan said following the game.

For Frock, capturing another county title was rewarding, but he knows his team has the talent to accomplish even more.

“It’s been an awesome run for us,” Frock said. “We’ve won it five years in a row now, so we wanted to keep that going. But we also have bigger goals in the state playoffs.”

Other volleyball scores:

Century def. South Carroll — 3-1 [23-25, 25-14, 25-7, 25-16]

The Knights (8-3, 10-3) secured the season sweep of the Cavaliers (5-6, 6-7). Century was led by Jasmine Stanton (21 service points), Eva Brandt (21 kills, 4 blocks, 2 aces) and Maggie Abramson (32 assists). South Carroll, which won the first set, got bit games from Elliott Golueke and Casey Reno with 4 kills each. Sam Rice led with 3 service aces, while Cali Kalishek had 13 digs.

Manchester Valley def. Winters Mill — 3-0 [25-16, 26-24, 25-21]

The Mavericks (3-9, 3-11) continued their late-season surge, now having won three of their last four matches, with the sweep of the Falcons (3-8, 3-10). Leaders for Manchester Valley were Libby Burkhouse (29 assists), Sydney Coshen (2 blocks), Emma Shaffer (13 kills) and Rowan Walsh (20 digs).

Francis Scott Key def. Brunswick — 3-2 [15-25, 25-20, 26-24, 17-25, 15-12] (Monday)

The Eagles (1-11) broke through for their first victory of the season. Junior setter Payton Zepp set up the offense with 31 assists. Junior outside hitter Kelsey Holman led the team with 14 kills, 12 blocks, and 22 digs. Junior libero Caroline Cruickshank earned 11 digs and an ace while showing consistent and strong leadership. Senior middle Lizzie Bertrand had 3 aces, 6 kills and 8 blocks at the net.

Liberty def. Middletown — 3-1 [25-22, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22] (Monday)

The Lions were led by juniors Sarah Hart (10 kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks, 16 digs), Paige Coulson (10 kills, 4 aces, 1 block and 26 digs) and Jenna Liska (5 kills, 1 ace, 1 block and 11 digs). Senior Alise Shotwell (5 kills, 1 block, 1 assist), junior Hadley Rossbach (3 aces and 4 digs) and sophomore Grace Maertin (4 kills, 1 block, 3 digs and 25 assists) all had strong games as well.

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