The North Harford Hawks girls volleyball team pulled off an improbable five-set win Wednesday at Edgewood in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Susquehanna Division match.
The Hawks, down 2-1 and trailing in the fourth set, 24-17, rallied to win that set, 31-29, and the deciding fifth, 15-12, to win in their season opener. The Hawks won the first set, 25-21, but Edgewood (2-1) won the next two, 25-16 and 25-17, respectively.
“Well, if I have to say with our team, the best thing we did in that was really motivate each other,” senior Isabella Singh said. “We really worked hard and pushed through, no matter how tired we were. The best thing we did, we worked as a team, we communicated and we saw what we needed to fix in the first few sets.”
In the match-changing fourth set, the Rams were up 10-5 on three aces from McKenzie Badham. The lead grew to 15-10, but a Madelyn Wagner kill brought the Hawks within 15-12.
The lead quickly ballooned to 21-13 after a kill from Bryanna Carter (six kills, three blocks). Another Badham ace put the Rams on the brink, the 24-17 lead seemed more than safe.
[ High school sports roundup from Sept. 7. ]
North Harford, though, rode the serve of Katherine Forte (five aces, two kills, four tips, one block) to come all the way back. Forte served seven straight points, including three aces, to pull the Hawks even. But a service error put Edgewood back on game-point, 25-24.
The teams traded points with neither able to lock up a two-point win until the Hawks put together a string of points to come out on top.
“What I can say is our team pulled together,” Hawks coach Barb Matthews said. “Everybody has talent and I have 14 girls that I try to fit in. I don’t have to play everybody, but we have good talent and they came together, communicated and covered what needed to be covered and I think that’s what brought us back.”
In the fifth set, the teams traded the first eight points before the Hawks scored five straight for a 9-5 lead.
A block by Singh (two aces, three kills, two blocks) pushed the lead to 11-6 and Claudia Pfaff’s kill made it 13-7. Sylvia Marin served Edgewood within two, but the Hawks scored two of the final three points to celebrate victory.
The Hawks first set win saw the team pull away late. The set was tied at 18 when Singh served one of the team’s five aces to push her team ahead.
A tip kill from Sierra McManus gave the Hawks a 22-19 lead and Rylee Branagan (three aces, one kill, three blocks) added an ace as the Hawks closed out the first set.
Edgewood settled in to win sets two and three. North Harford aided the Rams with six service errors in set two, but the Rams also got key plays from Carter (kill), Kelechi Ogbanna (block) and Zyiana Rowlette (ace) to even the match.
In set three, Edgewood fell behind but Marin (eight kills, two aces, 10 digs) served it to a 9-3 lead. The lead was as big as 13-5, but the Hawks closed back within two at 17-15.
Edgewood pulled back away on three kills by Chiara Mignini-Beaz before closing out the set.
“It’s one of those where it’s like, who wants it more and my girls wanted it, but the other team really wanted and North Harford really put in that extra effort,” Rams coach Hannah Whitmire said. “The fourth set was just incredible and then the motivation was on their side. Overall, both teams played a really good game and both teams worked really hard. It’s a good learning lesson and we’ll come back stronger next time.”