Last fall, Huntingtown’s volleyball team celebrated its first regional championship since 2014 to make a Class 3A state semifinal appearance. This season, much was new with the Hurricanes as they welcomed a new head coach and have a relatively young roster that includes just two seniors.
“I came in as a new coach this year, so it was definitely a change for the girls,” said Huntingtown head coach Kelsey Richards, a 2010 Calvert High School graduate. “We’ve really come together as a team. I think every player is crucial to our team regardless of what their position is or what they do. I think they’re bringing the heat at the right time, so I’m really excited to see how the rest of the season is going to go.”
On Monday night, the Hurricanes took care of business in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference nondivision matchup with the visiting Lackey Chargers, taking the win in three sets by a 25-13, 25-15, 25-21 count.
“I think we did a pretty good job,” said Sarah Dunphy, one of the team’s two seniors. “We came into this and really didn’t know how Lackey was. Last year they were kind of scrappy, but we didn’t know what to expect tonight. I think we did a pretty good job with mixing up the lineups and getting used to it and putting the ball away no matter what they sent over to us.”
Lackey actually held a 6-5 lead in the opening set, but the hosts went on a run to open up a 14-7 lead on the way to eventually taking the set 25-13. With Dunphy serving to open the second set, the Hurricanes reeled off 10 straight points and were never challenged, while the Chargers held tough through the bulk of the third before the Hurricanes put the match away.
“I think we did pretty good,” said Huntingtown sophomore Gabby DeCesaris. “We got down sometimes, but we made sure to bring it up.”
Similarly, the season had its share of ups and downs. Huntingtown (7-3 overall) has lost three matches this season and rebounded to put together modest winning streaks after each one. Monday night’s win was the team’s second in a row after dropping a match at Broadneck of Anne Arundel County on Oct. 2.
“I think we’re doing a really good job, especially with a new coach and everything,” said Dunphy of the team’s progress throughout the season. “I think we’re doing a good job of adapting to the new coaching style and working together. I think this year is the best year that we’ve had with team bonding and everything.”
“I think we’re doing pretty good,” DeCesaris added. “Everything is coming together as a team. We have our on games and off games, but it’s all getting there. ... It’s been a good growth. Some of us have had less experience than others. Everybody is getting together and we’re all working to our highest standards.”
Looming is a challenging portion of the schedule, as the Hurricanes are scheduled to host La Plata at 5:30 p.m. Friday and then are slated travel to Calvert County rival Northern for a match at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game, bottom line,” Richards said. “We’re going to have to pass, set, hit, block, all those kinds of things. The girls are fully capable and I think they’ll wear their hearts on their sleeves on those nights.”
Lackey (3-6) will look to bounce back when it hosts McDonough at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Chargers have shown the ability to compete with some of the better teams in the conference at times, according to head coach Jo’nel Barnes, but have searching for more consistent efforts.
“The progress this year has been a lot better than last year at this time,” Barnes said. “Our team is strong. Right now we’re struggling with when we turn it on and when we turn it off. In Game 3 we saw a completely different squad than we saw in Game 1. Now we’re trying to get them to a point where they understand that Game 3 has to be a reflection of the entire match.
“It’s getting to a point where they understand that they have to step up, they have to play their teammates and communicate better. But I think we’re looking better than where we were last year. I’m excited about it.”