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Atholton volleyball falls to South River

Volleyball matches like the one on Tuesday between South River and Atholton is an example of the kind of contests organizers had in mind when coming up with the new schedule agreement with Anne Arundel and Howard counties.

In a matchup between two of the top five teams in the metro area according to The Balitmore Sun, South River dropped the first set, but fought back to win the next three to took the match in four, 29-31, 25-17, 30-28, 25-23.

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Though the Seahawks won in four, Atholton had four set points in the third before falling and rallied late in the fourth to make South River sweat out the final set and match.

Atholton High School volleyball team beat Centennial High School volleyball in four sets in Columbia on September 15, 2016.

"We won all three of our matches with the Howard County teams, but it wasn't easy by any means," South River coach Maureen Carter said. "They (Atholton) are very good. They were very relentless and weren't making many mistakes."

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South River (6-0) also defeated Howard County powers Centennial and River Hill and will now face a schedule of primarily Anne Arundel County teams, outside of a meeting with Dulaney next week. The Seahawks will play Broadneck, Arundel and Severna Park over a 12-day stretch toward the end of the season.

"We'll see them teams late in the season, but that's OK," Carter said. "We as coaches all like playing the Howard County teams because they're very good."

Atholton showed why it's regarded as one of the top teams in the area when it rallied to win the first set. The Raiders trailed by as many as five points, but fought back from an 18-15 deficit to take a 21-18 lead on the strength of Elise Park's serving. The teams traded leads toward the end of the set, but Lisa Zoch's kill finally gave the first set to the Raiders, 31-29, on their fourth set point. South River also had a chance to put the set away, but Samantha Miller's kill kept the Raiders alive.

Atholton (3-3) defeated Severna Park and fell to Arundel and South River and will head continue Howard County play when it faces Glenelg on Thursday.

"We love this. We were lucky because we finished so high in the season last year," Atholton coach Rob Moy said. "We ended up playing tough teams, but that's we want. We want to play those tough teams so we can prepare for the playoffs."

Savannah Siegrist led a balanced South River attack with 26 kills and was one of three Seahawks who registered at least 10. She added 18 digs and went 11 for 13 serving with an ace. She had four of her kills in the fourth set, including one that put the Seahawks up 24-22. After a block from Zoch kept the match alive, the Seahawks clinched the match on a service error.

"Savannah has been very clutch hitting and she's very high percentage on the outside," Carter said. "She's leading the way, but I feel like we have a very well-rounded team this year."

Sarah Manderson followed with 14 kills and five digs and went 19 for 20 with three aces, while Erin Canter had four late kills in the fourth set and finished with 10. Setter Emily Speciale had 52 assists and went 14 for 15 and defensive specialist Madisyn Jones had a team-high 29 digs and went 13 for 13.

South River has always fielded teams that contended for county and region championships each year, but this year's team appears to be loaded with even more talent than some of Carter's best squads.

"In some of the past years we've had talent, but it wasn't as spread out," Carter said. "I think I have a lot of young talent this year."

Miller had a big game for the Raiders with 18 kills, two assists, 20 digs, two aces and a block, while Zoch added 14 kills, two assists, 14 digs, two aces and a block. Elise Park had eight digs, four aces and a kill; Hope Kelly had 45 assists, seven digs, two aces and a block; Kelly Simons added three kills, a dig, two blocks; and Brooke Mason had 16 kills and one and a half blocks.

To see other scores bewteen the final Howard versus Anne Arundel counties volleyball play days, CLICK HERE.

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