McDonough volleyball swept by Chopticon
Braves snap two-match losing streak
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.
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.