South River rallies to title
Unbeaten No. 1 Seahawks lose first set but come back to deal No. 4 Arundel the 2nd of its 3 defeats this year
It wasn’t by design that South River dropped the first set of Tuesday’s Anne Arundel County volleyball championship.
When it happened, though, it didn’t seem to bother the No. 1 Seahawks.
South River, which came into the match with No. 4 Arundel undefeated and without having trailed in sets at any time during the season, shrugged off the first-set loss and won the next three to win the county championship, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-22.
The Seahawks, already locked in as the top seed in the forthcoming Class 4A East Region playoffs, have a first-round bye and will open the playoffs on Nov. 7 against either Chopticon or Annapolis.
“No, it wasn’t a good thing,” said South River coach Maureen Carter, when asked if it was good to fall behind to see how her team would handle it. “We’ve never been in that situation before, but we did win the second game with a vengeance.”
Savannah Siegrist led South River (15-0) with 18 kills and 15 digs and went 13-for-14 serving with five aces. She had a kill to clinch the second set, then served three straight aces and scored four points on her serve to help the Seahawks jump out to a big lead in the third set on their way to the 25-17 victory.
“I wanted to finish that game and get to a fourth set and get out of here,” Siegrist said. “Those three aces in a row really kick-started us. It was nice that we got that cushion because we did slow down some at the end of the set.”
One of the big reasons for South River’s success this year has been the way the production is spread around. While Siegrist typically leads the team, others have joined her. Samanta Tarabella added 10 kills on Tuesday and Sarah Manderson followed with nine kills and four blocks.
“Fourteen of our 15 players played tonight. That just shows that everybody was doing their part,” Carter said. “When some players were struggling, others were coming in to fill their shoes.
Erin Canter clinched the third set with a kill to move the Seahawks within a set of winning the match. The fourth set was much more competitive and was a one- or two-point margin until the Seahawks scored the final two points to win, 25-22.
Emily Speciale, who finished 17-for-17 serving with an ace and added 37 assists, accounted for two points late in the set with a kill followed by a tip.
Madisyn Jones led South River defensively with 20 digs and went 12 for 13 with an ace.
“We really have to stay focused,” Siegrist said. “We really think that Arundel is one our biggest competitors in the state.”
Arundel, which seemed to play a little better than when the teams met on Oct. 17, featured a balanced hitting attack on Tuesday. Kiera Holtzclaw (11 blocks), Chyna Gubbings, Mackenzie Meehan (five blocks) and Taylor Wigglesworth all had eight kills. Alicia Eldredge contributed 20 assists and 20 digs for the Wildcats, who are the No. 1 seed in Section I of the 4A East and could meet the Seahawks again in the region final. Two of Arundel’s three losses this year have come against South River.
“I’m proud of the progress we’re making,” Arundel coach Ashley Yuscavage said. “Chances are pretty good we could see them again, so we just need to keep focusing on making progress.”
South River’s Erin Canter, whose kill clinched the third set for the Seahawks, returns the ball over the net Tuesday night.