Emily Wolfing provided just what the South Carroll volleyball team needed.
The senior middle hitter recorded a game-high 10 kills and added two blocks to power the Cavaliers to a 15-10, 15-7, 17-15 win against visiting North Carroll last night in Hampstead.
The victory helped South Carroll even its county record at 1-1, improve to 3-1 in both the Central Maryland Conference and overall, and forget a straight-sets loss to Liberty on Tuesday.
A dominant factor in last night's match was the play of Wolfing, who, as the lone returning everyday starter from last year's squad, has had to adjust to the unique pressure of being the team leader.
"There's a little bit [of pressure], but it's not a big deal," said Wolfing, who also chipped in with an ace and an assist. "Sometimes it's hard with the new positioning and playing next to someone that you've never played with before, but it's coming along pretty well."
Junior setter Kim McClearn, who along with junior setter Jen Ross combined for 13 assists, said the team feeds off Wolfing's energy.
"She talks it up for us," McClearn said. "She tells us what to do and where to go. She's confident and that helps us."
The Cavaliers certainly helped themselves last night by racing to quick leads in the first two games against North Carroll (0-1 county, 1-2 conference, 1-2 overall).
After drawing to a 7-7 tie in the first game, South Carroll reeled off five straight points for a 12-7 lead. Panthers junior middle hitter Stacy Page earned a point back with a block, but the Cavaliers won three of the next five points to win, 15-10.
In the second game, South Carroll sprinted to a 13-4 lead before North Carroll coach Denise Spangler called a timeout to rally her troops. But the damage was already done as the Cavaliers closed out the game with two Wolfing blocks.
The lead changed hands several times in the third game before the Panthers took what appeared to be an insurmountable 14-9 lead. But South Carroll captured five straight points to tie it and then earned an ace from junior hitter Vikki Mathers and kills from junior outside hitter Michelle Caballero and Wolfing to seal the victory.
Wolfing said the team may have tired in the third game.
"Not that we let down, but we took it easier," she said. "We let them come back, but we fought back, too."
Spangler said she implored her squad to extend the match to a fourth game, but to no avail.
"We were very lax, and there was no intensity," Spangler said. "We just couldn't get into a rhythm out there."
Cavaliers coach Debbie Eaton said she was especially pleased to see her team battle back from Tuesday's 15-10, 15-13, 15-9 loss to Liberty.
"Tuesday's match was disheartening, especially losing in three," Eaton said. "We're not going to let that happen again."
The Baltimore Sun accepts nominations for its Athletes of the Week on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 410-332-6200 or 1-800-829-8000, Ext. 6200.
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