Great Mills volleyball sweeps St. Charles
Hornets down Spartans in three sets
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.”