No. 4 Loch Raven rides momentum to sweep of Catonsville Volleyball


A zone.

That's what sports psychologists call a player's state of mind when she can do no wrong and seems to be performing at the peak of her game.

About midway through the second game of last night's Class 2A North region semifinal, most players on the host Loch Raven volleyball team began to get that feeling.

And it was enough to do in fifth-ranked Catonsville.

The fourth-ranked Raiders scored 27 of the final 33 points in the match to hand the Comets their worst defeat of the season, 15-12, 15-8, 15-1.

The No. 2 seed Raiders (12-1) advance to tomorrow's (7 p.m.) regional final against top-seeded Edgewood, a winner over Aberdeen in yesterday's other semifinal.

Loch Raven looked unstoppable in the second half of the match, using hard, accurate serves, crisp sets and monster kills to blow away its opponent.

"Right in the middle of the second game, I knew we had it," said Loch Raven's Shannon Towner, who had two kills, three aces and four blocks. "We were just playing too well. Once you get the momentum going like that, it doesn't stop."

After winning a back-and-forth first game, the Raiders found themselves in a 3-3 tie in the second game.

That's when the momentum swung for good.

The team scored 10 straight points, thanks in large part to Towner's domination at the net, to take a 13-3 lead, and went on to win the game.

After that, Loch Raven just beat up on Catonsville (11-2), taking advantage of numerous mishits and mistakes to win going away.

The end result was a far cry from the teams' previous meeting last Thursday, when the Comets edged the Raiders in five games for an emotional win.

Loch Raven coach Carol McPherson said that losing that match was an advantage to her team.

"I think it helped us tonight," said McPherson, whose county championship team defeated Catonsville in similar fashion last month. "It's hard to win three times in a season, and not having to do that probably helped out kids, mentally.

McPherson said that the biggest difference between last week's match and yesterday's was her team's improved serving. The Raiders put 66 of their 74 serves into play, collecting seven aces.

But it was Catonsville's poor passing that made the difference.

Errant passes led to soft hits over the nets that Loch Raven took full advantage of. Margie Huesman and Tiffani Tucker led the Raiders with six kills apiece.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad