La Plata swept in SMAC vol­ley­ball fi­nal by H-town

Hur­ri­canes win in 3 sets for first con­fer­ence crown since 2006

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @cfh­philly

In its rel­a­tively short his­tory, Hunt­ing­town’s vol­ley­ball pro­gram has been pretty suc­cess­ful in putting some num­bers on its cham­pi­onship banner in the school’s gym­nasi- um. The Hur­ri­canes, who played their first sea­son in 2004, have won five re­gional cham­pi­onships in their ex­is­tence.

But those five years were kept com­pany by just one South­ern Mary­land Ath- letic Con­fer­ence cham- pi­o­nship, that com­ing in 2006. On Tues­day night, Hunt­ing­town dou­bled that to­tal, de­feat­ing the vis­it­ing La Plata War­riors in three straight sets 30-28, 25-21, 25-15 in the SMAC cham- pi­o­nship match.

“It feels re­ally good. It’s been 10 years since we last won,” Hunt­ing­town’s Ju­lia Kef­fler said. “I think our team has re­ally come to­gether. We have a lot of very good team chem­istry and we play well to­gether.”

Head­ing into the sea­son, Hunt­ing­town (13-1 over- all) may have ap­peared as an un­der­dog in the con­fer­ence race given the team plays in the SMAC’s Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion with de­fend­ing 3A state cham­pion North­ern. But the Hur­ri­canes de­feated the Pa­tri­ots in four sets when the teams met on Oct. 11 and ran the ta­ble from that point to fi­nally claim an­other con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship.

“It’s been an in­cred­i­ble sea­son,” Hunt­ing­town head coach Reiko Allred said. “We lost some key se­niors this last year, so these girls stepped in and they haven’t let up.”

The start on Tues­day night was far from smooth for the Hur­ri­canes, as La Plata (10-5), the con­fer- ence’s Po­tomac Di­vi­sion cham­pion, made them earn ev­ery­thing they got. The hosts ac­tu­ally faced a pair of set points be­fore fi­nally pulling out the 3028 win.

“We started a lit­tle flat, but then we got into our rhythm,” Allred said. “La Plata, they’re coached so well. [La Plata head coach] Bill Young, I have so much re­spect for him. I knew he wouldn’t come in and give us an easy match.”

The Hur­ri­canes took con­trol a lit­tle ear­lier in each of the sub­se­quent sets, tak­ing the se­cond 2521 be­fore clos­ing out the match with a 25-15 win in the third and fi­nal set.

“We came out flat and then we helped pick each other up,” Hunt­ing­town’s Lexie Lauer said. “We re­ally wanted it. We pushed for it and got it.”

While his team was not able to take home the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship plaque, Young was pleased with the ef­fort his team put forth and the ex­pe­ri­ence it gained prior to the post­sea­son.

“The girls played re­ally well,” he said. “I have a very young team and they fought through. They never let down and nev- er caved in. In vol­ley­ball some­times you see them lose and their whole face shuts down. They didn’t do that. They were smil- ing here at the end, were still play­ing hard. I was very proud of what they did today.”

The War­riors earned the top seed in Sec­tion I of the Class 2A South Re­gion, and will open the post­sea­son in the sec­tion semi­fi­nal on Nov. 7 against the win­ner of a sec­tion quar­ter­fi­nal be­tween fourth-seeded Lackey and fifth-seeded Thomas Stone.

“I think we’re in great shape,” Young said. “We have a young team. I have two fresh­men and three sopho­mores start­ing. We get bet­ter by the day. Their vol­ley­ball knowl- edge vol­ley­ball IQ is go­ing up all the time.”

Hunt­ing­town, the top seed in Sec­tion II of the 3A South, will also open its play­off sea­son on Nov. 7 in the sec­tion semifi- nal, play­ing the win­ner of a sec­tion quar­ter­fi­nal be­tween fourth-seeded Oxon Hill of Prince Ge­orge’s County and fifth-seeded St. Charles. Po­ten­tially wait­ing for the Hur­ri­canes in the fol­low­ing round would be a re­match with North­ern, the sec­tion’s se­cond seed.

“We can’t look past the teams we have ahead of us. There is some tough com­pe­ti­tion,” Allred said. “We have to get back in the gym to­mor­row and get back to the grind, work hard.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

La Plata’s vol­ley­ball team talks things over dur­ing a time­out at Tues­day night’s SMAC cham­pi­onship match at Hunt­ing­town. The War­riors came out on the bot­tom end of a 3-0 de­ci­sion.

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