Great Mills vol­ley­ball sweeps St. Charles

Hor­nets down Spar­tans in three sets

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

In the mo­ments af­ter his team swept host St. Charles High School on Sept. 15, Great Mills head vol­ley­ball coach Bill Plot­ner had earned an added ap­pre­ci­a­tion for his squad’s depth.

Great Mills started two of its nor­mal six starters each set and ro­tated two oth­ers in off the bench, while the other pair were not avail­able for the con­test due to mild in­juries. With a vary­ing ro­ta­tion each set, how­ever, the Hor­nets dis­posed of the host Spar­tans, 25-12, 25-10, 25-11, in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence non­di­vi­sion match thanks in large part to their crisp serves.

“We were able to get eight or nine dif­fer­ent girls into each set,” Plot­ner said. “So that tells us how much depth we have. Even though we had a dif­fer­ent lineup on the floor, the girls played well to­gether each set. The serv­ing was very good and the pass­ing and set­ting and hit­ting were all good. It showed me how much chem­istry we have right now.”

Much of the Great Mills at­tack cen­tered around se­nior set­ter Re­bekah Torge­sen, who fre­quently lofted nu­mer­ous sets that out­side hit­ters Ca­ley Neville and Jemimah Sal­va­cion and mid­dle hit­ters Erika Berry and Alicia Young rapidly turned into kills and points for the Hor­nets (3-1, 2-1 SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion af­ter a 3-1 loss to Hunt­ing­town last Fri­day night).

“She’s amaz­ing,” Plot­ner said of Torge­sen. “She runs the show out there for us.”

“We re­ally want to see how well we can do against teams like North­ern and Hunt­ing­town this year,” Torge­sen said. “We beat Leonard­town last week and that was a big win for us. But this year I have a lot of girls that I can set the ball to and they’re go­ing to put it away.”

Torge­sen opened the third set with seven straight ser­vice win­ners, in­clud­ing a pair of aces as the Hor­nets sprinted to an early 7-0 lead. Bryce Har­den then added two more win­ners and Young reeled off four more ser­vice win­ners, in­clud­ing an ace to vault the vis­i­tors to a 16-4 lead and later Young ended the match with three straight win­ners, capped by an ace.

Over the course of the match, Great Mills not only served more ef­fi­ciently than St. Charles, but the Hor­nets were able to get more points off ser­vice runs. Great Mills scored at least 16 points off serves in each set, while the Spar­tans strug­gled on serves and man­aged only 10 points off serves over the du­ra­tion of the match.

“We work on serves all the time, but tonight we strug­gled on serves,” St. Charles thirdyear coach Dar­relle Smith said. His team fell to 0-5 with a 3-0 loss to North­ern on Mon­day evening. “We have a very young team with two fresh­men, two sopho­mores, a lot of ju­niors and just one se­nior. We had good passes and good sets, but we just didn’t have some­one that wanted to step up and at­tack the ball. We still don’t have that trust and that’s re­ally on me.”

Great Mills and St. Charles were ac­tu­ally tied on sev­eral oc­ca­sions in the first set, but the Hor­nets fi­nally gained some breath­ing room when Young rat­tled off four straight ser­vice win­ners for an 11-6 lead. Erikah Dozier then recorded four straight win­ners, pro­longed by sets from Torge­sen that ended up as kills for Neville and Sal­va­cion.

Torge­sen then nearly ended the first set with four straight ser­vice win­ners, in­clud­ing a pair of aces, but it was Neville end­ing it with an ace. St. Charles had been within 11-9, but the Hor­nets ended the open­ing set on a 14-3 run thanks to sev­eral pro­longed runs and the Spar­tans in­abil­ity to run a pro­fi­cient at­tack.

The sec­ond set also be­gan com­pet­i­tively as the Hor­nets owned a 6-4 lead un­til Young again pro­vided the ser­vice run that en­abled the vis­i­tors to forge an 11-4 lead. Dozier again fol­lowed with an­other run and Berry emerged from the bench to record three straight win­ners, in­clud­ing a pair of aces to ex­tend the Hor­nets lead to 20-7. Neville also ended that set with three straight win­ners.

“It’s been a good start to the sea­son, but we re­ally want to go a lot fur­ther this sea­son,” Neville said. “Hav­ing Re­bekah as our set­ter is great. She makes a lot of great sets. We have some tough matches ahead against North­ern and Hunt­ing­town, but we’re ex­cited about this sea­son. We’re hop­ing to go a long way this year.”

Sev­eral Spar­tans dis­played plenty of grit­ti­ness, chas­ing down free balls and mak­ing tough, div­ing digs. Ju­niors Janae Lyles, Keara Watkins and Kemah Brown cov­ered the floor well, but the hosts could not sus­tain many ral­lies on at­tack er­rors and ser­vice er­rors.

“We still need to gain trust in one an­other out there,” Smith said. “The girls play hard. They get to a lot of balls. The ef­fort is there. We still lack that chem­istry that the other teams have.”

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