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Pax volleyball tops Great Mills in regular season finale

Patuxent 3, Great Mills 1

Great Mills 13 15 25 15Patuxent 25 25 21 25

By AJ MASON

Staff writer

Fresh off an impressive three-game sweep over La Plata, Patuxent played like a family on Wednesday night as it took on Great Mills on senior night.

Six seniors on the court were recognized: Lindsey Trollinger, Julia Galladoro, Shaelynn Schmidt, Kristen Miller, Helena Hudson and Alexa Tomalewski, while senior team manager Cassie Beck also was recognized for her efforts with the staff.

It was one big happy family on Wednesday as the Panthers won in four games over visiting Great Mills, 25-13, 25-15, 21-25 and 25-15.

Patuxent head coach Kevin Keller started all six of his seniors on Wednesday and mixed up the lineup throughout the match.

“It was nice to give a lot of the seniors playing time,” Keller said. “We only start two normally, so we wanted to move girls around and do some different things in the match. This was a very special night for the seniors because this was the last regular season of their careers.”

Now the focus for Keller and the Panthers is the Class 2A South Region playoffs, which kick off Nov. 1.

“Our goal is to go the state tournament,” said Keller, whose team has momentum going into postseason with its two-match win streak to close the regular season. “We have a very competitive region and we will have to go through Calvert to get there.”

Patuxent (11-3, 10-2 SMAC) cruised to victories in the first two games, but Great Mills came back to win in the third. However, in Game 4, the Panthers were just too much and showed its prolific defense, strong presence at the net and efficient passing. The Panthers also won long volleys at times during the match which wore down the Hornets.

Schmidt, who has been on varsity for three seasons, had a team-high nine kills on the evening and displayed her powerful hits over the net.

“I can’t believe this is the last regular season game of my career,” said Schmidt, the team’s outside hitter. “We got to play a brand-new lineup tonight and we got to work on a lot of things. We are very motivated right now. After losing to Huntingtown then beating La Plata, we’ve come together so much. We just need to keep working hard in practice and we will be fine.”

Junior outside hitter Chanel Underwood continued to be effective offensively and defensively as she dug up every ball that came her way.

“I don’t let anything hit the floor,” said Underwood, who had an array of digs and finished with seven kills in the match to help fuel the Panthers attack. “I’m proud of our seniors, it’s just icing on the cake that we won the game tonight. Winning their last regular home game was special. We showed great teamwork and we are a family. Our expectations are to go to states.”

Panthers junior middle hitter Madison Scott (8 kills, 4 blocks) was efficient from the serving department, collecting four aces with a 98 percent serving percentage.

“That La Plata win really will help us for the playoffs, and Madison has really used her size and helped us at the net. She sparked us in the La Plata game and as you can see she did a great job tonight.”

Great Mills took a 5-4 lead in Game 1, but Patuxent led 6-5 and outscored the Hornets 19-8 to close out the game. In Game 2, the Panthers surged out to 10-2 and 20-7 leads.

In Game 3, led by Diana Cruz’s serving and spark at the net, the Hornets led 19-18, then outscored Patuxent 6-3 to take the game.

Cruz finished with eight kills, 11 digs and four aces.

“I was telling my team to keep fighting, we wanted to get every point,” Cruz said. “We started to figure out Patuxent’s main hitter was and we started to play well. We didn’t want to get shutout. We did a good job of playing hard the whole match.”

In Game 4, Patuxent turned up the heat and capped off the night with leads of 5-0, 10-3, and 16-6 to help seal the senior night victory up.

Great Mills head coach Bill Plotner could not be reached for comment by press time.

The Hornets finished the regular season with Wednesday’s loss and dropped to 7-7, 5-7.

Northern win streak at six

The Patriots (9-5, 9-3) extended their winning streak to six matches with straight-game wins over McDonough and Lackey.

Northern finished the regular season with a sweep against host Chopticon on Wednesday.

Against the visiting Rams on Oct. 16, Molly Anadale had three aces, five digs and a team-high nine kills in a 25-18, 25-13, 25-10 sweep. Jess Ward added three aces, two kills and 14 assists and Kelly DePaulo had four kills and three service aces.

Against the visiting Chargers on Oct. 18, Northern dropped in 27 aces during a 25-4, 25-8, 25-3 win. Naomi Underwood and Lavinia Doan shared the team lead with seven aces apiece. Anadale and Underwood had six and four kills, respectively and Ward served up 12 assists. Natalie LaPlaca had two digs.

ajmason@somdnews.com

Staff writer Michael Reid contributed to this report.