ESSEX, MD — The Chapelgate volleyball team is getting battle tested at the right time.
One night after defeating Roland Park Country in five sets, the Yellowjackets traveled to previously undefeated Mount Carmel and found themselves in another marathon match, this time falling in five sets, 26-24, 20-25, 26-24, 25-27, 15-13.
Chapelgate, Mount Carmel and Roland Park Country all entered the week without a conference loss.
"You want to get a chance to play some really good teams and be tested and get a chance to see what you're made of," Chapelgate coach Jess Weakley said. "The great thing is that it's early and going into the playoffs we can expect to see them again."
Mount Carmel plays Roland Park Country for the first time this season next Wednesday, and if Roland Park managed to win, each of the three teams could potentially finish the conference season with one loss for a three-way tie for first.
Mount Carmel could clinch the title — its first since 2000 — outright with a win over Roland Park.
"We knew Chapelgate was going to be really tough, and we know that Roland Park is going to be equally tough," Mount Carmel coach Nicole Reinhold said. "We're expecting to meet one of them at some point (in the playoffs), so we'll celebrate this for today and then get back to work."
The Yellowjackets defeated visiting Roland Park, the defending Conference champion, 25-23, 20-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-10 on Wednesday night. In that match, senior captain Julia del Carmen was 14-for-14 from the service line and led the team with 19 kills. Senior opposite hitter Phoebe Cleaver added five kills and six digs, and junior setter Jianna Casamento tallied 23 assists.
Those same players led the team on Thursday night, along with sophomore Rachel del Carmen. The del Carmen sisters, who play for the Baltimore Elite Volleyball Club, combined for 27 kills. Rachel had 14 kills and served 21-for-22 with three aces. Julia had 13 kills, led the team in passing, and added three aces and 15 digs. Casamento contributed 26 assists and 11 digs, and Cleaver tallied four kills and 13 digs.
"We gave ourselves an opportunity to win, and that's all I can ask of the girls," Weakley said. "They know how to win ... they're a fun team to watch."
The Yellowjackets led 21-19 in the third set before falling, but rallied from a 22-20 deficit to win the fourth set, staving off match-point twice and winning on a Rachel del Carmen kill. They raced to a 7-3 lead in the fifth set, and led 13-11 late, but couldn't close it out.
"We've put ourselves in a good position (for the playoffs), but the girls are heartbroken because they wanted this bad," Weakley said. The del Carmens "are such key parts of the whole team ... even if they're not touching the ball, just their presence on the court changes the dynamic of the team."
The Roland Park match was originally scheduled to be played on Tuesday, but was pushed forward to Wednesday due to a scheduling conflict with a fundraiser at the school.
Around the league
Glenelg 3, Long Reach 0
Sarah Girard racked up 19 kills, eight digs and six aces, Kara Crawford tallied eight kills, Elissa Dorsey collected 11 digs and five aces, and Rachael Girard added 27 assists.
Maddy Belt (20 kills, 9 digs, 2 blocks), Amaka Chuckwujekwu (5 kills, ace), Barbara Kelley (19 digs, 3 aces, 2 kills), Megan Lieb (10 assists, 6 digs, 3 aces) and Katie Dorn (15 assists) led the Gators to a three-set sweep.
Wilde Lake 3, River Hill 0
Wednesday, Oct. 8 result
Glenelg Country 3, Annapolis Area Christian 0
The Dragons were led by senior Alexis Foxwell (5 kills, 12-for-12 serving, 4 aces) followed by sophomore Uchenna Nwodim (4 kills). Senior Lizzy Musaga, sophomore Jordan Daitch (2 aces), and freshman Sabrina Jackson had three kills each. Junior Sarah Gibney (15 assists) was successful on all but one of her 18 serve attempts with six aces. Freshman Sophia Jalali contributed three service aces.