Arundel’s title quest ends with loss to Sherwood
COLLEGE PARK — Arundel’s quest for a state volleyball championship will have to wait at least another year.
Kaiya Heyliger-Powell had seven kills in the deciding fifth set to lead Sherwood over the top-ranked Wildcats on Wednesday night at Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum, 2520, 9-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-13.
Chyna Gubbings had 13 kills to lead the Wildcats, who were in the state semifinals for the fourth time and were looking for their third trip to the state finals.
“I think that wehad a great night and we did a lot of things well,” Arundel coach Ashley Yuscavage said. “Obviously there were times where we really struggled to contain [Heyliger-Powell] and I think that was our biggest issue.”
The Warriors (20-3) will face Northwest (18-1) in Saturday’s state final. The Jaguars are in the state final for the third straight year. They fell to Severna Park in 2014 before winning their first state title last year. Sherwood is the only team to have beaten Northwest this year, taking a five-set match Oct. 19.
After dropping the first set, 25-20, the Wildcats rolled to a 25-9 win in the second. Alicia Eldredge served nine straight points, including five aces, to give Arundel a 9-1 lead. The Wildcats had a 12-4 lead, then Sydney Sheppard served 11 straight to make it 23-4.
The third set was much more competitive, with six ties and four Arundel’s Kiera Holtzclaw, rear, returns the ball as Sherwood’s Kaiya Heyliger-Powell (33) and Simonne McCants (18) defend. lead changes. Arundel fell behind 13-9 but rallied to take a 21-16 lead on the strength of two kills from Gubbings and a kill and two blocks from Mackenzie Meehan. The Warriors got as close as 21-19, but the Wildcats caught a break whena kill went long. But then Sherwood was called for a net violation. Sheppard followed with an ace, and after the teams traded points, Meehan closed the set with a kill on a free ball to move the Wildcats within a set of the final.
Though there were six ties in the fourth set, the Warriors didn’t take its first lead until 17-16. The set was tied two more times before Sherwood went ahead again 21-20. Gubbings had a pair of late kills, but the Warriors scored the final three points of the set to set up a winner-take-all fifth set.
Kiera Holtzclaw, one of just three seniors on Arundel, closed her career with six kills and three blocks.
“I’m really proud of this year. We really improved,” Holtzclaw said. “It was really hard in the beginning, but we picked up, learned from our mistakes and bounced back. We played as a team, and that’s what matters the most.”
Meehan had eight kills and five blocks, Makenna Snidow added five kills, and Nia Smith had 10 digs for the Wildcats.
“Losing these three seniors is really sad,” Yuscavage said. “We are really excited we bring back a lot of really wonderful people. Every year you change, but we’re excited about what next year looks like.”