Before the season, Marriotts Ridge senior Brenna O’Reilly said she expected there to be plenty of hurdles with trying to play a volleyball season during a pandemic.
So heading into Wednesday’s match against visiting Atholton, with three players out of the lineup and the Mustangs not having played a game in a week, she said the key was simply doing what they’ve done when faced with any kind of adversity this season.
“Every time things get tough, whether it’s in a match or just dealing with something overall, we just come back together and lean on our core group of seniors to refocus,” O’Reilly said. “It’s definitely been challenging at times, especially the things that are out of our control, but for all the setbacks there have been, I see the improvement. Tonight, especially, I thought we really pulled it together.”
Marriotts Ridge (4-2) answered every Atholton (3-3) push over the course of the evening, securing a sweep of the visiting Raiders by winning the first set 25-20 and the second 25-19.
O’Reilly posted a match-high 16 assists, but it was an overall team effort that pulled the Mustangs through. Katie Trenchard, Olivia Kuznetosva, Rachel George and Leah Liu all registered three or more kills for Marriotts Ridge.
“I’m really proud of them today because we had girls in different positions and asked a few of them to do more than usual. We had to figure it out, fight hard together, and that’s exactly what we did,” coach Jamie Bullock said.
Marriotts Ridge scored the first six points of the match off serves from Liu (two aces) and maintained that momentum to build a 22-12 lead.
“When we are high energy, that’s when we are at our best and we had great energy to start,” O’Reilly said.
But just as it seemed the Mustangs would run away with the first set, Atholton found life. The Raiders rattled off six straight points to pull within four and ended up making things interesting before their comeback fell just short.
That momentum, however, carried over into the second set as Atholton grabbed its first lead of the evening. The Raiders were ahead 5-3 and forced an early Mustangs timeout. Annie Zhou and Allison Semel each delivered multiple kills in the second set for Atholton.
“We haven’t had a real practice or game since Thursday for one reason or another … and I thought it showed early on. Once we started getting our feet under us, we started playing better and it started with our defense,” Atholton coach Larry Schofield said. “Then it was just a matter of consistency. Ultimately, we still made a few too many unforced errors that kept it from being even closer.”
Marriotts Ridge didn’t stay down for long, though. The Mustangs countered with their own six-point run to retake the lead, 9-5, and they never trailed the rest of the way.
Each team has one match remaining next week before the county tournament begins, with the Mustangs scheduled to travel to take on Reservoir and Atholton slated to host Oakland Mills.
“The big thing for us, as I’m sure it is for a lot of teams right now, is just staying focused and taking advantage of every minute on the court together that we have,” Bullock said. “If we play hard and keep improving, that’s really all I can ask.”
Marriotts Ridge stats: Katie Trenchard (5 kills, 3 digs), Julia Mamo (6 digs), Brenna O’Reilly (3 digs, 16 assists), Olivia Kuznetosva (4 kills, 1 dig), Rachel George (3 kills) and Leah Liu (2 aces, 3 kills, 8 digs).
OTHER VOLLEYBALL SCORES:
Howard def. Long Reach — 2-0 [25-11, 25-8]
Sophomore Corinne Chau and senior Jordan Redmiles combined for 10 kills to lift the Lions past the Lightning. Howard remained undefeated with the win. All seven of the Lions’ victories have been in straight sets.
Howard stats: Corinne Chau (6 kills), Gigi Fredrickson (3 kills) and Jordan Redmiles (3 aces, 4 kills, 13 assists).
Long Reach stats: Isabella Mora (1 ace, 3 kills, 5 digs), Hayley Norton (9 assists, 3 digs) and Kailey Young (4 kills, 2 digs).
Mt. Hebron def. Wilde Lake — 2-0 [25-15, 25-17]
The Vikings’ victory over Wilde Lake (0-7) was led by Morgan Amos (seven kills), Brenna Siperko (four aces) and Rachel Swigart (12 assists). Mt. Hebron (2-3) also got solid contributions from hitters Anwesha Gorantla, Peyton Donnell, Sydney Jones and Jillian Schoultz, who combined for 12 kills.
The Gladiators bounced back from its loss to Marriotts Ridge Monday with a win over the Lions to improve to 4-2 on the season. Freshman Kam Henson scored in her second straight contest with the game-winner against Howard (1-5).
Saves: G — Rachel Barker 1; Ho — Rachel Murphy 30.
Wilde Lake 2, Hammond 0
The Wildecats improved to 4-2 with the victory, while Hammond fell to 2-4. The Golden Bears stuck with Wilde Lake in the first half, but Victoria Stralka scored two second-half goals to lead the Wildecats to victory. Logan Bitner-Parish also made multiple key saves to preserve the shutout.
In a hard-fought game, the Hawks maintained their undefeated status with a win over Marriotts Ridge. Claire Slade recorded the first hat trick of her career, while senior Lindsey Miller recorded three assists for the second game in a row. Ella Walchko and Maisy Clevenger both scored for Marriotts Ridge (3-3). The loss snapped the Mustangs’ three-game winning streak, while the Hawks improved to 6-0 with the triumph.
Goals: RH — Claire Slade 3, Laura Mason; MR — Ella Walchko, Maisy Clevenger.
The Lightning (2-4) earned a shutout victory over the Scorpions (0-6) for a second time this season. Daryan Allmond made three saves to lead the defense, while Skylar Kohler registered four goals to pace the offense.
Goals: LR — Skylar Kohler 4, Georgia Day, Kaydence Thompson.
Saves: LR — Daryan Allmond 3; OM — Katie Oliver 4, Saige Soskil 11.
Centennial 4, Atholton 0
The Eagles (6-0) stayed unbeaten with the shutout victory over the Raiders (4-2), getting two goals apiece from Helen Baldy and Jamie Cole.
Goals: C — Helen Baldy 2, Jamie Cole 2.
Assist: C — Lily Sullivan.
Mt. Hebron at Reservoir, PPD
Wilde Lake 56, Reservoir 56 (Boys)
Playing in a steady rain at Willow Springs, the Wildecats and Gators ended up tying in total score. But the story of the day was Evan Schneider posting a round of 23 points to qualify himself for the county championship tournament. Schneider had posted 21 points in the team’s season-opening quad match and now has the required best two-match total of 44 points to qualify. Wilde Lake’s Henry Hilger, who has also qualified for the tournament, posted 20 points.
WL: Evan Schneider 23, Henry Hilger 20, Michsael Stralka 10, Adam Parker 3.
Re: Ty Karbacka 18, Kyle Ecker 16, John Welch 13, Brian 9.