- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
If they were nervous, they didn’t show it.
Game 1 set the precedence in Thursday night’s volleyball match at Great Mills High School with the Hornets taking on the visiting Chopticon Braves.
The Hornets came back to win the opening game after an 11-0 deficit and went on to sweep the match in three games by scores of 26-24, 25-16 and 25-17.
Chopticon’s Lindsey Morris served the first 11 straight points for the visitors. Diana Cruz couldn’t control her power and Elizabeth Schwartzenburg struggled to clear the net before Great Mills first-year head coach Bill Plotner called timeout to regroup his team.
The Hornets fell behind by four more points until Maeghan Heyen found an opening on the Braves side of the court for a Great Mills point. Teammate Corinne Post set up a kill for Schwartzenburg for the second point and Cruz served an ace as the Hornets started to find their groove.
Cruz also served the final five straight points of the match.
“It felt like a lot of pressure, Cruz said, “not just on me, but on the entire team. It was just too much pressure.”
Plotner was happy with his team’s ability to finish the game.
“Against Huntingtown, we couldn’t finish the game and against North Point we couldn’t finish,” Plotner said. “We had a big challenge in the first game, we were a completely dead team. I don’t want to ever start off like that again, but we did find a way to win. I was not happy at all in that first timeout. It was atrocious; it’s not the volleyball that we play.”
Pressure was something that the Hornets did not take into Game 2. Chopticon started to lose its mental toughness and the Hornets picked up on that.
The Hornets went on a five-point run, due in part to Rachel Neville and Annie Kayser teaming up for the kill. With Great Mills leading 18-13, the longest volley of match took place with both teams working hard for the point. It was a light, strategic placement from Kayser that won the point.
Chopticon’s Eleyna McKenney displayed powerful kills to the corners and straight up the middle, but control became an issue late in the match. Post was accurate on her serves for the Hornets and closed the game out on a positive note with an ace.
Post, who moved from outside hitter to setter said for the Hornets, the key is to not stay down.
“We need to stay positive,” Post said. “Against some teams we get down, like we did against North Point and we ended up losing, but we could have easily won. We’re a better team and we got down because of refs and a few things that we just shouldn’t have let it bother us.”
Plotner praised his new setter, saying that Post is picking it up naturally.
“I coached Corinne in club for a year and she’s a very good outside hitter,” Plotner said. “The good problem that we have this year is that we have strong outside hitters that have been playing varsity for a while. I wanted her up on varsity and we wanted her on the court and she’s really picking it up naturally.”
Great Mills is now 6-2 overall, 4-2 SMAC. The turnaround this year for the Hornets, according to Schwartzenburg, has been the total team chemistry.
“We’ve really been improving this season,” Schwartzenburg said. “We really enjoy being out there with each other and we’re communicating more.”
Great Mills was at Northern on Tuesday evening, a contest that finished too late for inclusion into this edition, and will be back in action at 5:30 p.m. Friday at home versus Thomas Stone.
Chopticon (1-5, 1-5) hosted La Plata on Tuesday evening, also a contest that finished too late for inclusion into this edition, will travel to McDonough for its next contest at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
“There is no doubt that we have shown improvement throughout the course of the season,” Braves head coach Gregory Shedd said. “We have competed and nearly taken sets off of some elite teams. Now, the team needs to rise up to the next level and have success against a quality opponent.
“Our objective and focus is to keep working hard and gain confidence/momentum leading into the playoffs.”
Raiders stun La Plata
Thursday night, Leonardtown (5-4, 5-2) stunned host La Plata in five games, winning by scores of 26-24, 15-25, 23-25, 25-11 and 15-11.
Savannah Norton had 17 assists and three aces for the Raiders, while Alyssa Yochim had 26 digs and Katie Julian had 17 digs.
Madison Day had 13 kills, while Leigh Laurel had seven and Sarah Caggianno and Emily Moslenor each added 5 kills. Adrian Carkhuff and Sarah Caggianno each had key blocks through out the match as well.
"It was very rewarding to knock them off after a hard fight," Leonardtown head coach Steve Correll said. "Both teams played exceptionally well and it was a very competative match. Even though we dug ourselves a hole during the match we fought hard enough to overcome some early mistakes."
It was La Plata's first loss of the season.
Leonardtown swept Westlake in three games on Monday night and will be at Patuxent at 5:30 p.m. today.
Staff writer AJ Mason contributed to this report.
Great Mills 3, Chopticon 0
Chopticon 24 16 17
Great Mills 26 25 25