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