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Against a team like Our Lady of Good Counsel, giving up five to seven points in a row isn’t going to get a team a win, and St. Mary’s Ryken, a very young but prideful team, found that out Tuesday evening.

The visitors from Montgomery County went above the .500 mark by sweeping the Knights, 3-0, by scores of 25-21, 25-13 and 25-23.

Good Counsel head coach Karen Kart said she knew that if her team could control the serve, she could win the match.

“We know that if we can control the serve-receive, we can typically take care of the match,” Kart said, “and that’s what St. Mary’s Ryken was doing in the third [set]. They were serve-receiving well and serving hard at us. That made it really tough for us.”

Ryken came back strong with a fight in Set 3, serving five straight points to force a Good Counsel timeout, but the Knights struggled to keep the ball in bounds and make clean hits at the net. With the set knotted at 21, Good Counsel senior hitter Morgan Keating served an ace and senior defensive specialist Dominique Pope sent over a kill too tough for Ryken junior libero Lindsay Hanf to return.

Later, Ryken served into the net and Good Counsel picked up the sweep to go to 3-2 overall this season.

Kart said she sees a totally different team in Ryken this season.

“St. Mary’s Ryken now brings a sense of pride to the court, where in the past that hasn’t been their driving [force],” Kart said. “They’re a well-rounded team, and [Maddie Aughinbaugh] seems to calm everybody down and rev everybody up at the same time. We definitely noticed it.”

Pope added, “We definitely thought Ryken did a great job. They’ve improved. Their setter [Tori Hughes] had some really good sets. We have a new serve-receive, and although we all play all of the positions, we just need to get set more.”

Ryken second-year head coach Tracey Jubeck said that her young team gets on a run and then suddenly gives up five points in a row.

“We’re also playing in the WCAC, which is by far the strongest conference in volleyball, probably in the state,” Jubeck said, “so we have to keep our expectations, but at the same time, we know that we can pull off these victories as well. With playing good competition like this, it is the definite need to have good defense and good serve-receive, so I think that’s anyone’s challenge in this conference because the servers and hitters are so good.

“Maddie Aughinbaugh led the team and had an impressive match on both the front line and back line. She was solid all the way around leading the team in serve-receive accuracy and kills. Tori Hughes and Kati Agate both played exceptionally well in their role as setters and have consistently performed to expectations throughout the season. Mackenzie Loewe led the team in digs and also had a solid performance hitting and serving.”

The Knights (1-4 overall) communicated and played defense well against a very strong specialist in Pope.

Hughes, the team’s head captain who takes part in calling plays, said that she and her team are building confidence with the roles they’ve been given, so communication is improving.

“It definitely gives me a lot of responsibility out there, which I like,” Hughes said. “We’re not coming together as a team as much as we should. We’ll have like two people on for one game and then two other people on for the next game. We just need to jell more as a team.”

Ryken will host Chopticon at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Jubeck wanted to include county teams in the schedule this season, part of her goal coming in as head coach. The Knights also will host Leonardtown on Oct. 3 and Great Mills on Oct. 9.

“Last year, I came in after the schedule had already been set, and this year, I wanted to get in some of the local games,” Jubeck said, “because we just had such a tough travel schedule.”

Good Counsel 3, St. Mary’s Ryken 0

Good Counsel 25 25 25

Ryken 21 13 23

tshowalter@somdnews.com