La Plata volleyball loses in four
Missing setter not a problem for H-town
Huntingtown was curious how it would fare without the services of its senior setter against visiting La Plata but it needn’t have worried earning a 3-1 victory on Monday in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference nondivision match.
The Hurricanes (6-1 overall) took the match 25-16, 17-25, 25-22, 25-20.
“I think we didn’t play our best game, but overall we came out of that second set loss and we came back fighting in that third set,” Huntingtown libero Katlynne Palensky said. “I believe we could have played harder the fourth set and we can’t trade points like that with another team. With us, trading points, missing serves, bad passing we need to pick up our game.”
Huntingtown was without captain and senior setter Julia Keffler, who sustained a concussion over the weekend during a college visit and is out at least week.
“I think it was really important [to win], especially without her,” Huntingtown first-year head coach Reiko Allred said. “It was important for the team to know they can win without her, to know that they can play. La Plata’s well coached so we knew we couldn’t overlook them.”
The match featured 16 ties and five lead changes, with 13 ties and three lead changes coming in the fourth set.
“We’re a very young team so we’re coming along,” La Plata head coach Bill Young said. “I saw them coming together and working hard. They never gave up, so I just think we’re going to continue to get better.”
Huntingtown held a slim 5-4 lead in Set 1 before winning 15 of the next 21 points on its way to a ninepoint win.
“Yeah, especially at home it’s really important,” Allred said of getting the all-important opening-set victory.
“I liked that they picked up the pace,” Young said. “Early on we weren’t ready for that speed of volleyball and they got faster and faster as the evening went so we were able to keep up towards the end there so that was nice. It was a kind
of feeling out game for the girls because they hadn’t seen that. We practice that, but they hadn’t seen it in a real game. They were jittery.”
Set 2 saw the Warriors (3-2) jump out to a 10-2 lead thanks in large part to Alyssa Gayon’s six service points. The Hurricanes later closed the gap to 13-11, 16-13 and 18-15, but La Plata earned seven of the last nine points to even the match.
“We went into that huddle saying, ‘Wow, we just got beat. We can’t get beat like that anymore. This is our home court,” Palensky said. “And we came out and passed well and I think that’s how we won that [third] game.”
“It was definitely an energy issue and I feel we let ourselves down the second set,” Huntingtown setter/hitter Elizabeth Diamond. “We got comfortable with how we were playing; we got complacent and then it was a fight to get back into Huntingtown volleyball and play the way we knew we could play.”
Huntingtown opened up a 12-4 lead in Set 3 thanks to six service points by Abby Johnson and four by Nathalie Sulhoff. Johnson also added two aces and Carter Mulvihill had two kills during the run.
Trailing 19-8, La Plata battled back to close the gap to 21-17 on three service points and an ace each by Jayci Chamberlain and Loryn Cottle and two kills by Rachelle Rye. But a kill by Diamond and an ace by Sulhoff gave Huntingtown momentum and six points later, Diamond drilled the game-winning kill.
Set 4 was the closest of the evening with nine ties and three lead changes by the time it was 16.
The Hurricanes pushed ahead 18-16 and, after a timeout by Young, won seven of the next 11 points and sealed the victory when Johnson drilled a crosscourt kill.
“We were trading points back and forth and there at the end we said, ‘OK, we’re not trading points anymore. Enough’s enough,’” Allred said. “We had a big kill by Elizabeth Diamond [for our 18th point] and we went with it.”
“I like to see where the blockers are and they were giving me some seams,” Diamond said, “so I like taking those and also short shots, they were working.”
Young said he was pleased with his team’s resiliency. “We were down but we kept fighting back, fighting back and both sides were working and playing hard,” Young said. “[We need to be able to] read the hitters and get the blockers moving so they’re covering that a little better. And serve-receive. That’s always an issue. This is the first solid team we’ve faced all year. Some of the Charles County teams haven’t challenged us quite as much so I was pleased that they stepped up and played a lot better.”
La Plata’s next match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Thomas Stone.
Asked about her team’s progress to this point, Allred said the Hurricanes are moving in the right direction.
“We are halfway there,” she said. The Hurricanes are scheduled to be at North Point at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. “Coming in as a new coach they have a new offensive system and you saw some communication errors and we’re working through those to eliminate them. I think there’s more you haven’t seen with this team.”
STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID La Plata’s Ava Krahling prepares to serve against Huntingtown in Monday’s match. The Warriors fell to the Hurricanes in four sets.