According to Michelle Crouse, the game plan for the Westminster volleyball team was to hit the ball to any South Carroll player but Emily Wolfing.
The strategy worked for a game and a half, but Wolfing and the Cavaliers downed the visiting Owls, 15-6, 5-15, 15-8, 15-13, in Winfield last night.
Wolfing, a senior middle hitter, finished with a team-high 10 kills and six blocks, but her biggest contribution was her presence on the back line in the final game, said Crouse, the Westminster coach.
"I told them that they needed to keep the ball away from Emily," she said. "In the fourth game, they started serving back to her. The name of the game is to stay away from Emily."
Wolfing said she noticed that the balls tended to head to spots on the court where she wasn't positioned.
"One of the biggest things you can control is your serve, and I didn't receive many serves," Wolfing said. "They did that well today."
Although delighted to have won, South Carroll coach Debbie Eaton said she was concerned by her squad's inability to close out the match. The Owls fought off four match points before mishitting a shot that sailed out of bounds.
"We still didn't have that end-the-match instinct," Eaton said. "We can't wait for the other team to make a mistake. We need to take charge."
The Cavaliers (4-3 overall and in the Central Maryland Conference) were in control early in the match. After spotting Westminster a 2-0 lead, South Carroll reeled off 10 straight points. After Owls senior setter Julie Garner earned a service point to end the run, the Cavaliers won five of the next eight points to capture the first game.
In the second game, Westminster found its offensive rhythm and raced to a 9-3 lead. An unforced error and a Wolfing slam allowed South Carroll to cut the lead to four, but the Owls took the next six points to win the second game.
Much of the third game was a seesaw battle between the two teams. But once the Cavaliers tied the score at 7, they grabbed eight of the next nine points for the win.
Junior middle hitter Amy Conner said it was important for South Carroll to rebound from a two-match losing skid that included a 3-1 setback to previously winless Frederick on Thursday.
"We felt like we needed to win," said Conner, who had 11 service points and five kills. "This was the time to break that losing streak."