Morgan Kline leads No. 2 Severna Park to win over No. 8 Arundel in volleyball

The Severna Park volleyball team has towered over its competition in Anne Arundel County so far this season.

The No. 2 Falcons have three players on the front line who average 6 feet tall — Mary Smith (6-3), Sophie Hoekstra (5-11) and Tara Register (5-10) — but it's 5-foot-7 setter Morgan Kline who makes the offense work.

Kline, a junior, contributed 26 assists and 10 digs to lead host Severna Park (10-0, 9-0) to a 25-19, 25-21, 25-14 victory over No. 8 Arundel (9-2, 8-2) in a key Anne Arundel County league game Monday. She also was a perfect 29 of 29 from the serving line.

The Falcons have beaten No. 6 Broadneck, No. 5 South River and Arundel in consecutive weeks, putting Severna Park in line for another appearance in the county championship, which will be played the week of Halloween.

"Morgan has really worked over the offseason at getting better," Severna Park coach Tim Dunbar said. "She has gone to setter camp and played club volleyball, and she's been a major reason for our success. Volleyball is her sport, and she has really committed to it."

Kline impacted the win over Arundel from beginning to end.

The Falcons trailed, 11-8, in the first set when she started serving. When she finished, Severna Park had a 19-12 lead. She contributed two aces in that sequence.

Kline's sets consistently put the Wildcats on their heels in the second set. She had 11 assists in the set, and contributed to multiple kills by Smith (four kills and five blocks for the match), Register (12 kills), Hoekstra (12 kills), and Hailey O'Mara (four kills).

"She knows how to set the outsides, right side, and the middle," Smith said. "She has a knack for being able to trick our opponents, and that makes her even more dangerous."

The Wildcats kept the third set close, trailing only 12-10 when Kline again stepped to the service line. After she finished, the Falcons had an 18-11 lead.

Kline was quick to praise the work of her teammates in the victory.

"I tried to play the best I could, and it seems like my hard work is paying off," Kline said. "We are a great team, and I'm so confident in my teammates. I think we play really well together. I still need to work on reading the hitters a little better, but we are playing well now."

Dunbar said he also was happy with the progress the team has made, and it's understood that the Falcons would like to avenge their loss in the state championship last season.

"Playing a good, well-coached team like Arundel is so important for our team," Dunbar said. "They show us what we are doing well, and they also show us what we need to work on. They exploited some of our errors and found a few holes in our defense, and we need to do a better job fixing some of those things."

After Monday night, the setter position probably isn't one of them.

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