A trio of volleyball teams from the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference earned a berth in their respective region finals last weekend and two of them advanced to this week’s state semifinals at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum in College Park.
Huntingtown (15-2 overall) advanced to the Class 3A South Region final by sweeping longtime county rival and defending 3A state champion Northern in the Section II final on Nov. 7, sending the Hurricanes to Baltimore Polytechnic Institute for the region title match on Saturday afternoon.
The Hurricanes prevailed 25-18, 23-25, 25-15, 22-25, 15-12 to earn the right to face Bel Air of Harford County (18-2) in the state semifinals at 8 tonight in College Park. The winner of that match will return for the state final, scheduled for 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at Ritchie Coliseum, against the winner of Wednesday’s other state semifinal contest between Westminster of Carroll County and Atholton of Howard County.
“I thought we played well that first set, but it wasn’t the dominant win that I was looking for,” Huntingtown head coach Steave Habbert said. “Then the second set, Poly came out with a lot more energy and they took that one from us. Then we got things back that third set and we dominated that game and that’s what I was looking for from our girls.”
But Huntingtown played the fourth set without senior Carter Mulvihill, who suffered a back injury and sat as the Hurricanes dropped the set. But Mulvihill urged Habbert to put her on the floor for the fifth set and she and Abby Johnson proved invaluable as the Hurricanes rallied from a 9-8 deficit to forge a 14-10 lead and held on for the 15-12 victory.
“I kept reminding our girls that Poly came in undefeated and they had not lost a single set during the season,” Habbert said. “So, after we won the first and third sets they came out and responded. But the fifth set we came out strong early, fell behind for a few points then turned it on. When we went up 14-10 our serves, especially from Abby Johnson, were really the key.”
Lackey (5-13) climbed its way through the 1A South Region Section II bracket by slipping past crosstown rival McDonough in five sets in the section final on Nov. 7, sending the Rams to Largo of Prince George’s County on Friday. There, the Chargers’ success continued as they toppled the Lions in four sets and earned a berth in Thursday’s 1A state semifinals in College Park against Western of Baltimore. The match is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The Lackey-Western winner will return on Nov. 20 to face the winner of the other state semifinal that has Clear Spring of Washington County or Perryville of Cecil County for the 1A state title. The match is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and it will also be at Ritchie Coliseum.
Patuxent (13-4) earned a berth in the 2A South Region title match at Glenelg of Howard County by rallying past La Plata, the reigning region champion and state runner-up, to prevail in five sets in the Section II final on Nov. 7.
Friday evening at Glenelg, the Panthers were swept by the host Gladiators in straight sets. Glenelg advanced to play Hereford of Baltimore County in the state semifinals on Tuesday.