Chapelgate gets victory, not validation


The Chapelgate girls volleyball team had just put the finishing touches on a 15-4, 15-9, 12-15, 15-11 victory over the Institute of Notre Dame, but the players' demeanor did not befit the occasion.

Senior Merideth Dickey ended the match five minutes earlier with a powerful spike, but she sat - on the IND bleachers - with her face hidden in a towel.

Next to her was junior Emma Klein, whose long face did little justice to her 18-kill performance.

They were far enough away where they probably didn't hear coach Chris Moxley's promise that the Yellowjackets would pay for their performance the next day at practice.

For one fleeting moment, Moxley wore a smile when she was reminded that the victory, which improved Chapelgate's record to 8-1 and 5-1 in the conference, gave her team sole possession of first place in the Gold Division of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference.

The Yellowjackets had been tied with the Indians, who fell to 7-2, 4-2 in the conference with the four-game loss.

Moxley's reaction said a lot about her expectations for the Yellowjackets this season. Last year, Chapelgate went 18-3, but Moxley has held this team to a higher standard from Day One, and it has done little to lower it in the season's opening month.

The Yellowjackets have shown few weaknesses, played their best when pushed the hardest, and, aside from a four-game loss to Archbishop Spalding on Sept. 11, have given their coach little to fret over.

Until yesterday.

"It was the stupid stuff: the lack of communication, not following a passer off the court. They learned that a long time ago," Moxley said. "My goal is for them to always play their best. They are better than what you saw."

They proved it in wins over Long Reach, Catonsville and Mercy, and then there was last week's three-game victory over then-No. 10 McDonogh.

"We go from playing outstanding against McDonogh - the best we've ever played - to playing the worst ever as a team," Klein said. "It's like, 'How can we do that?' "

Dickey added: "Our level of play was pathetic. We beat them, it's a win, but just the fact that we didn't play well makes us upset."

Yesterday, the 13th-ranked Yellowjackets breezed to the first-game win, getting seven straight points on junior setter Erin Moxley's serve and six kills from the powerful Klein.

Game 2 brought much of the same, but it was games 3 and 4 that had the players and coach so displeased.

The Yellowjackets struggled with passing and blew a five-point lead in Game 3. In Game 4, they led 14-6, then surrendered six straight points to the Indians on Brooks Webster's serve, before closing out their fourth straight win.

"We can go so much further than how we just played," Dickey said. "I think we can win the championship. I definitely think we've got what it takes if we play together."

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