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Marriotts Ridge volleyball downs Calvert in straight sets in 2A South semifinal

Marriotts Ridge lost to Calvert in both boys and girls soccer already this postseason, so junior outside hitter and captain Molly Meininger wanted to make sure Mustangs volleyball got some revenge on Wednesday night.

The host Mustangs did so in dominating fashion, beating the Cavaliers 25-18, 25-19, 25-8, to advance to the 2A South regional final.

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We have a spot (in the gym) for a banner, thats what were looking towards, Meininger said. Its really exciting. It means a lot."

Marriotts Ridge will now travel to Southern for the region title game on either Friday or Saturday.

The season has been a tale of two halves, Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Olsen said, and that has prepared the Mustangs for a playoff run.

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Playing in Howard County, which had more parity than ever this season, also gave Marriotts Ridge the ability to believe they could make a deep playoff run in 2A.

We ended the season with some really good wins against really tough Howard County teams, Olsen said, so that has definitely helped our momentum and our confidence coming into the playoffs. ... Its such tough competition every game in Howard County, and this year weve been competitive, and every game weve gone in to we know theres the potential that we could come out on top. 

A key to the late run for the Mustangs has been Meiningers development.

She has really come alive in the last half of the season, Olsen said. Not just offensively, but defensively, serving, her hitting has been really reliable and consistent, and shes a leader. Shes vocal, shes intense, shes a captain of our team and other girls look up to her.

Meininger and her teammates came out firing early and never trailed in the first set. Meininger had five kills and an ace, while senior defensive specialist Mikaila Fitzpatrick added three kills and two aces in the opening stanza.

We were all really excited, really fired up, and were all really prepared and pumped up, Meininger said. 

Calverts only lead of the match was a 1-0 edge to open the second set, but Olsen said the Cavaliers made them work hard for every point because of their great defense.

Marriotts Ridge put an exclamation mark on the match in the third set with Meininger at the service line. Leading 14-8, the junior served for 11 straight points, including an ace, to close out the Cavaliers.

I was just trying to (not) listen to the crowd at all, just let it go, Meininger said. It got a little scary the last point. I didnt want to serve it out or anything, but it was exciting.

Meininger led the team with 13 digs, seven kills and three aces, while Fitzpatrick also finished with seven kills and three aces. Senior middle blocker Anna Geier added five blocks.

The Mustangs will now be trying to win a regional title for the first time since 2010.

"We really want to win regionals and get the banner so we leave our mark on this school forever,” Meininger said.

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