Throughout the course of Monday’s match at Calvert High School, the subtle difference between the two squads was the primary determining factor as visiting Great Mills High swept the host Cavaliers, 25-19, 26-24, 25-20.
Great Mills (3-3) has nine seniors on the roster this season and one of them, outside hitter Hannah Torgesen, was dominant at times. Although the Hornets were absent two setters on Monday, Torgesen and senior Mina Hicks worked fluidly together during numerous stages during the match and they eventually emerged with the sweep.
“Mina was really good getting the ball to me on the outside,” said Torgesen, who also plays tennis for the school in the spring. “We play much better when we’re loud. When we’re talking, we’re really good. When we start to get quiet, then we don’t play as well. Our defense was really good tonight. When we play good defense then our offense looks good.”
Calvert (1-4) showed glimpses of cohesive play throughout the match, but eventually the Cavaliers were felled by hitting and service errors at costly stages of the contest.
A pair of service errors late in the first set were followed by a kill from Torgesen off a set, then Hicks ended the opener with a serve that was not returned by the Cavaliers as the Hornets prevailed 25-19.
Both teams were virtually inseparable throughout the second set, which was tied on six occasions and remained knotted as late as 15-all. But the Hornets benefited from several Calvert service errors and another Torgesen kill gave the visitors a 23-20 lead late. The Cavaliers rallied behind a sharp service run from senior Briana Stockton for a 24-23 lead before the Hornets got a side-out point then ended the set on two straight service winners from Torgesen.
Great Mills forged a 6-2 lead early in the third set behind four service winners from Torgesen, but the Cavaliers rallied behind a service run from junior libero Karlee Hughes. The Calvert two-sport star — who is headed to Longwood University for softball — again covered the floor superbly and even became a focal point of the attack at times from the back row.
Great Mills forged a 14-7 lead behind a service run from Katie O’Toole and kills from Erika Smith and the Hornets looked poised to coast to a sweep. But the Cavaliers displayed a hint of resiliency and climbed to within 19-18 courtesy of service runs from Danielle Hallberg, Alyssa Payne and Hughes before the Hornets ended the set on a 6-2 run with senior Nikki Wise ending the match with a pair of service winners.
“There are moments when we play really well together,” Hughes said. “We fell behind by a lot that third set then we came all the way back [to 19-18] then we just fell flat again. There is definitely a lot of potential on this team. We’re still really young. I like taking swings from the back row.”
Hughes rarely calls it a night after practices and matches. On many occasions, she and teammates Grace Atherton, Megan Chroniger, Emma DeBoer, Clara Wood and Emily Davis head to the softball field to take batting practice until the lack of daylight brings an end to their session.