- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
For the past decade, the Northern volleyball team has owned its matchups with Leonardtown.
Coming off a tough home loss in three games to Arundel from Anne Arundel County last Friday, Northern continued its series dominance by sweeping the visiting Raiders in three games on Tuesday, 25-21, 26-24 and 25-21.
For the 10th time in the last 11 seasons, Northern has defeated the Raiders, with the last win for Leonardtown coming in 2004.
Northern will take on host Calvert at 5:30 p.m. today.
Patriots assistant coach Devin Hall took over the head coaching duties on Tuesday for head coach Beth Radford, who was out for work-related reasons. Hall was happy to see the team bounce back versus a tough team like Leonardtown.
“After the loss to Arundel, I told the girls, ‘Don’t get down,’ and they came back with a lot of energy today,” Hall said. “Our downfall this season so far has been errors and we have been in some slumps, but we corrected those mistakes. We battled and battled and came through in the end. Leonardtown is a tough team.”
After taking Game 1, no game was more pivotal than Game 2 where Leonardtown took leads of 18-15, 19-17, 21-19 and 24-21. All the Raiders needed was one point to win, but Northern responded with a 5-0 run take the game, as senior Lisa Wood had two huge service points during that run.
Leading the Patriots offensively was senior outside hitter Molly Anadale with nine kills, while Wood was second to her with four. Senior outside hitter Naomi Underwood was also a presence at the net with three kills in the victory.
“That second set was huge because Leonardtown had us on the ropes, but the girls showed a lot of heart, we kept coming back,” said Hall, whose Patriots were digging up a lot of balls that kept the play alive.
The defense and frontline of Northern were very aggressive at the net in the match and won with pure hustle at key points . Senior Alia O’Kane had three blocks in the game, while senior setter Jess Ward finished with 23 assists.
“This is very exciting, it’s our first home win of the season,” said senior middle blocker Qyntia Parks-Lewis, a transfer from Frederick Douglass High School in Prince George’s County. “This is my first year down here at Northern and it’s very competitive.”
“Qyntia brings a lot of height and she is a very good addition to us this season,” Hall said on the 5-foot-10 Parks-Lewis. “A player with that height can be really intimidating.”
“This was a big win at home for us, beating Leonardtown is always tough. We had a good crowd today and they were behind us,” Ward said. “We’ve really been practicing hard and our focus is playing with heart at all times.”
Northern (2-1, 2-0 SMAC) took advantage in Game 1, jumping out to 10-0 and 13-4 leads. The Raiders later cut the lead to 19-15 on junior Leigh Laurel’s kill, but that is the closest that they would come as the Patriots would hold them off.
Game 3 was tied at 12 until Northern took a 20-13 lead and never looked back.
In the losing effort, Leonardtown (1-2, 1-1), was hampered by unforced errors at key points of the match, but were right there in each game.
The Raiders were led by Laurel with five kills and junior Savannah Norton had three aces.
“Northern just played harder than we did,” Leonardtown head coach Steve Correll said. “Hats off to them, they were the better team. We just have a lot to work on.”
The Raiders will travel to Thomas Stone at 5:30 p.m. today.
Northern 3, Leonardtown 0
Leonardtown 21 24 21
Northern 25 26 25