La Plata vol­ley­ball loses in four

Miss­ing set­ter not a prob­lem for H-town

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­

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.

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