A combination of service and serve-receive errors by the Bel Air girls volleyball team brought an end to Bobcats’ season Monday at Harford Community College.
The Bobcats (16-1) suffered their first loss of the season to Huntingtown (17-2) in a Class 3A state semifinal, 25-19, 25-11 and 27-25.
“It’s unfortunate, but I think, it wasn’t our best match and it came at a bad time,” Bobcats coach Dave Simon said. “We thought in the third set, we were coming back to form and unfortunately it didn’t last.”
The Bobcats led early in the first set, 7-4, but several hitting errors allowed the Hurricanes to not only catch up, 9-9, but pull ahead and take control, 16-11.
Senior Lexi Couch had five of her match-high five kills in the set, but the errors in hitting and serving were too much to overcome.
The Hurricanes’ lead grew to 20-12 and the Bobcats called timeout. Ava Meyer’s two aces had Bel Air back within four, 21-17, but a 4-1 run and a back row kill from Alyssa Nuthall on set point put the Bobcats down 1-0.
Bel Air served four aces in the set, but it also served four out of the box or into the net.
In the second set, it was all Huntingtown from the start. Trailing 12-4, Bel Air needed another timeout. The lead was 14-9 after both teams had service errors and 15-10 after a net violation cost Jaydn Betters a kill.
Six more points gave the Hurricanes a 21-10 lead before they finished off a 25-11 final set.
“I feel like we’re normally the one who keeps the service pace, so we normally set the tone and we are the one who is very strong in our serves and they definitely came back with very strong serves,” senior Mackenzie Springer said. “It threw off our passing, which then threw off everything else in our offense.”
Couch shared Springer’s thoughts.
“I feel like we were just never able to get in system, like, in run our offense because our passing wasn’t, it was pretty much behind the 10-foot line every single time,” she said. “I feel like that was a key problem for us tonight.”
The Bobcats had 24 hitting errors and 12 service errors, while Huntingtown had 18 hitting errors and just four service errors.
Despite the 2-0 hole and hitting problems, the Bobcats came from behind in set three. They turned a 7-5 deficit into a 13-11 lead, prompting Hurricanes coach Danesha Gross to call timeout.
Out of it, Springer served five more points and the Bobcats’ lead was 18-11.
But back came the Hurricanes. A 7-2 run cut Bel Air’s lead to 20-18, but Anaiah Lewis’ kill made it 21-19.
A Meyer ace pushed the lead to 22-19 and two hitting errors by the Hurricanes put the Bobcats on set point, 24-21. But Huntingtown squared the set at 24-24 and 25-25 before the Hurricanes scored the final two points to end the match.
“I felt like we did such a great job starting out strong and pushing on the gas and going forward,” Gross said.
Nuthall finished with eight kills, five digs and an ace to lead Huntingtown.
“We all came together in that last set,” Nuthall said. “We all had this one goal in mind and I think we all came together we’re like, we are getting this.”
Shelbey Wilson added six kills for the winners, while Allie Wick and Megan Hollinshead had five kills each.
Lewis and Kayden Hardenbrook had four kills each for Bel Air, while Autumn Grimsley had 12 digs. Meyer finished with four aces and nine assists, while Springer added nine assists, two aces and two digs.
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“We knew we were going to be a good team, but we completely blew out all of our expectations,” Springer said. “To be here is amazing, we were so excited when we got in the gym.”