McDonough vol­ley­ball swept by Chop­ti­con

Braves snap two-match los­ing streak

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @aj­ma­son301

Af­ter drop­ping back-to­back matches to Calvert County out­fits Calvert and de­fend­ing Class 3A state cham­pion North­ern in con­sec­u­tive days last week, the Chop­ti­con High School vol­ley­ball team was look­ing to re­bound as it took on McDonough on Tues­day evening in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence non­di­vi­sion con­test.

Solid de­fense and a shared of­fen­sive at­tack car­ried Chop­ti­con back on the win­ning track with a 3-0 (25-10, 25-10, 25-11) sweep of the Rams at St. Charles High School in Waldorf. McDonough’s gym­na­sium was re­cently ren­o­vated and is not ready for com­pe­ti­tion yet.

“We had two very tough losses, but we’ve been step­ping up our game and to­day we played well,” Chop­ti­con head coach Lind­say Robert­son said. “We fo­cused on our un­forced er­rors and wanted to make sure that we didn’t have a lot.”

Chop­ti­con (2-2 over­all) never trailed on the day as it jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but McDonough came to within 4-3 on back-to-back aces from Sarah Chen. That would be the clos­est the Rams would get as the Braves took a 14-5 lead on an ace by se­nior Me­gan Gold­smith and pushed the lead to 21-9 on an ace by ju­nior hit­ter Anna Reese (7 kills) to help out put the first set away for good.

Chop­ti­con quickly set the tone in the sec­ond set, surg­ing out to a 9-3 ad­van­tage and later tak­ing a 17-8 lead. From there, the Braves reeled off the next six points, sparked by three straight aces by se­nior set­ter Au­tumn Buck­ler (7 aces in the match) dur­ing that span.

The Braves took leads of 8-1 and 13-4 in the third set. They would win 12 of the last 19 points to help se­cure the sweep and the match vic­tory.

“Our serv­ing is re­ally solid and I’m so im­pressed with the girls in that area,” Robert­son said. “I have nine solid servers and not ev­ery­body serves, but I have a lot of con­fi­dence in my play­ers in that sense. We have a lot of strength in our hit­ting, but we still have some things to im­prove on. I’m not to­tally sat­is­fied, we have a ways to go. When we’re on we are re­ally strong team as you can see.”

Chop­ti­con was led by ju­nior hit­ter Me­gan To­ma­sic with a team-high 10 kills, while Buck­ler fin­ished with 19 as­sists in the match.

“It was a very fun match and we knew com­ing into it that we would have the up­per hand if we came out ag­gres­sive and played as a team,” To­ma­sic said. “We have a lot of fun when we play and Au­tumn places the ball per­fect for me so that I can fin­ish it off over the net.”

“Our com­mu­ni­ca­tion builds up when we have mo­men­tum,” Buck­ler said. “And we are all friends off the court as well, so it makes it eas­ier when we play with each other on the court. We built a lot of con­fi­dence for to­day once we won that first set.”

Sopho­more Amyah Hill and se­nior Me­gan Mann dug up 15 balls on the de­fen­sive end for Chop­ti­con.

McDonough, last year’s 1A state fi­nal­ist, has strug­gled early on this sea­son, drop­ping to 0-4 af­ter Tues­day’s loss.

“We lost a lot of height from last year,” McDonough head coach George Had­den said. “I just have to find a way to in­spire us to play. Back when we played Lackey we took them to a fifth set and we haven’t reached near the po­ten­tial of the way we played in that game. We should have been more com­pet­i­tive in to­day’s match.”

The Rams are sched­uled to re­turn to ac­tion at 5:30 p.m. Mon­day at Thomas Stone, while Chop­ti­con is set to host West­lake at 5:30 p.m. Mon­day.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

McDonough’s Sarah Chen de­liv­ers a serve in Tues­day night’s SMAC vol­ley­ball match ver­sus Chop­ti­con at St. Charles High School in Waldorf. Chop­ti­con swept the Rams in three sets.

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