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Atholton volleyball sweeps River Hill to advance in regional playoffs

The Atholton volleyball team, shown here during a match in mid-September, defeated River Hill in the opening round of the playoffs on Oct. 30.
The Atholton volleyball team, shown here during a match in mid-September, defeated River Hill in the opening round of the playoffs on Oct. 30. (File photo by Scott Serio)

CLARKSVILLE, MD — Atholton volleyball junior captain Julia Skibniewska knew that the regular season was important, but she also knew that what really mattered was how she and her team were playing at the end of the October, when the entire season boiled down to a single elimination tournament.

Behind Skibniewska's 16 kills, the Raiders (3-10 league, 5-10 overall) swept River Hill (5-8, 6-9) in straight sets — 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 — on the road Thursday night in the opening round of the 3A East regional playoffs.

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"We know we didn't have a great season, but we're peaking at the right time," said Skibniewska, who also had 10 digs and three aces in the win. "Our defense played great and our serving was really on."

Earlier this month, River Hill cruised past Atholton, 3-1, during their regular season meeting.

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But on Thursday, sophomore Sam Miller (6 kills, 7 digs) joined Skibniewska to give the Raiders a formidable offense, while Madison Lim (19 digs), Hope Kelly and Gaby Lagomarsino (6 digs each) combined for a solid back row defense. Olivia Na (10 assists) and Lagomarsino (9 assists) joined forces to guide the offense.

"Julia and Sam have been crushing the ball, and Brooke (Mason) and Maddy have been playing great defense. And the setters have been pitching in," Atholton coach Rob Moy said.

The Raiders now advance to play county champion Glenelg in the quarterfinals on Monday afternoon.

Last year, Atholton drew a bye in the first round of the playoffs before getting swept by Glenelg in the quarterfinals.

"This year we actually earned the second round," Moy said. "Last season we snuck in because we got a bye, but this year we earned our way in, so it feels good."

The Hawks were led by junior setter Brianna Davis, junior middle hitter Emily Luo and junior outside hitter Isabel Paci in the loss.

On the other side of the 3A East bracket, Centennial swept Long Reach.

On Monday, Centennial will visit Mt. Hebron, Atholton will visit Glenelg, and Reservoir will visit Wilde Lake.

2A South

Hammond swept visiting Oakland Mills, 25-17, 25-11, 25-17. Junior middle Lauryn Terry had five kills and five solo blocks.

"She was a huge force in the front row," coach Anne Corey said.

Junior setter Bahar Lakeh had 12 assists, and junior outside hitter Tyler Moultrie had four aces.

On Monday, Hammond will visit top-seeded Marriotts Ridge.

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4A North

County runner-up Howard will host Blake in the 4A North regional quarterfinals on Monday.

IAAM B Conference

Chapelgate defeated Mount Carmel, 25-20, 26-28, 25-11, 25-16, in the IAAM B Conference semifinals. The Yellowjackets advance to play at Roland Park Country School for the championship on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

IAAM C Conference

Glenelg Country's season came to an end with a five-set loss to Oldfields on Tuesday.

Senior Alexis Foxwell had 20 kills in her final match as a Dragon, while junior Sarah Gibney had 30 assists and six kills.

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