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

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Bob Hough

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.”

MATTHEW COLE/BAL­TI­MORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP

South River’s Erin Can­ter, whose kill clinched the third set for the Sea­hawks, re­turns the ball over the net Tues­day night.

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