Maryvale played spoiler on Mount de Sales’ homecoming night Thursday, sinking the third-ranked Sailors in four sets, 28-26, 25-19, 19-25 and 25-20. It was the second time in as many years the Lions have upset the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference powerhouse.
“This entire month we’ve known [to] sink the Sailors — sink them, just take them out and take them down,” Maryvale senior outside hitter Claire Neff said. “Now, we’ve been practicing for it this game. We’ve been playing for it and every day we come out with that mentality.”
Coming into the match, de Sales was undefeated in conference play and in first place in the IAAM A.
For Maryvale coach Missy Little, a win against a team of the Sailors’ caliber is of high importance.
“Huge,” said Little of the win. “We were looking forward to maybe seeing them last year in the playoffs, but a different chain of events had happened for us. So, we were hoping that this year we would be able to make it that far, but to come back and to be the only one in the conference that beat them — it’s just huge. This is like a championship win for us.”
The Sailors led early in the first set before Little took her first timeout, changing the momentum. After going back and forth with de Sales, the Lions won the first set, 28-26.
In the second set, Maryvale controlled the entire way for a 25-19 victory.
Mount de Sales battled back in the third set and was able to win, 25-19. It came with some controversy as a Mount de Sales player knocked the ball into the inner portion of the stanchion outside of the playing area.
“This team’s not going to quit. It’s not in them,” Mount de Sales coach Gary Troy said. “They knew Maryvale was good and they knew they were in for a fight. I think there were some jitters because it was senior night, but overall our players aren’t disappointed. They’re disappointed they lost, but for their season and the whole thing, they’re ready to go for the playoffs.”
The fourth set went down to the wire as well with both teams taking points into the 20’s. De Sales called a late timeout while down 23-19. They returned with a kill by freshman outside hitter Kelenna Onukwugha, but it was their last point. Maryvale controlled the remainder of the set.
Both teams will play in the IAAM A Conference quarterfinals Tuesday. De Sales is the top seed and Maryvale the second seed.
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“We’re pumped,” Neff said. “I know our seniors personally are pumped, but I know the whole team is pumped. We’re all revved up, we’re all ready to go. So, we can’t wait for Tuesday for our first playoff game and we’re going to kick some butt.”