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Rams sweep Fair­mont Heights, ad­vance to third-straight 1A North ti­tle match

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Af­ter a rough reg­u­lar sea­son, the McDonough vol­ley­ball team will get a chance to de­fend its re­gional cham­pi­onship for the third straight sea­son.

Wed­nes­day night the top-seeded Rams made light work of third-seeded Fair­mont Heights of Prince Ge­orge’s County, cruis­ing to a 25-12, 25-8, 25-15 sweep in the Class 1A North Re­gion Sec­tion II cham­pi­onship match in Pom­fret.

McDonough will host Pat­ter­son Mill of Har­ford County at 5 p.m. Fri­day for the re­gional champi- on­ship. Pat­ter­son Mill swept Havre de Grace of Har­ford County in three sets in Wed­nes­day’s Sec- tion I fi­nal.

“It feels good to get back in the re­gional fi- nal. That is three years in a row now and I hope that we can win it again,” said McDonough head coach Ge­orge Had­den, whose team was play­ing in its first play­off game on Wed­nes­day af­ter re­ceiv­ing a dou­ble bye. “We have less tal­ent than we did from last year’s team, but we are re­ally turn­ing it on here at the end and play­ing strong. So I’m happy for the girls to be able to play for the re­gion ti­tle again.”

With strong serv­ing and de­fense at the net, McDonough (3-12 over­all) trailed 3-0 to start the first set, but it went on a 13-0 run and later took a 16-5 lead. The Rams pushed things to 22-9 to take the open­ing set.

In the sec­ond set, McDonough scored the first six points and surged out to leads of 13-1 and 20-4 to take con­trol and never look back.

“In the first game we missed some serves, but we got a big lead, which was fun for them,” said Had­den, whose team has seven se­niors. “We made some good passes and kept our de­fense strong. If we do that, we have a good chance to keep go­ing.”

The third and fi­nal set was all the Rams once again as they jumped out to a com­mand­ing 15-3 lead. Fair­mont Heights came to within nine points to­ward the end of the

match, but Teya Re­gala capped things off with the match’s fi­nal point over the net.

McDonough se­nior Sarah Chen led in the serv­ing de­part­ment with a match-high 14 aces, while out­side hit­ter Trin­ity Jones fin­ished with eight kills in the game. Libero Ce­leste Driver, Rachel Cox and Lau­ren Davis also con­trib­uted

with key match.

“This is def­i­nitely great be­cause a lot of peo­ple were doubt­ing us be­cause we lost key play­ers last year, so we’ve been work­ing hard and are ex­cited to get back to the re­gional cham­pi­onship game. To­day I was try­ing to hit my spots and I was lis­ten­ing to my coaches.”

Jones added, “This year was kind of a rocky sea­son for us be­cause we went from win­ning more games last year to this year our record wasn’t the

points

in

the

best. So for us to come in and be able to make it to the re­gional fi­nal again is great. As long as we keep our heads in it, we can go very far.”

When asked about be­ing a huge pres­ence at the net, Jones said, “In prac­tice I con­stantly prac- tic­ing jump­ing and that is the main thing I do. Ev­ery ball that comes to me I go up and get it.”

Fair­mont Heights (3-8), which came off a win in five sets on the road ver- sus county foe Sur­rattsville in the sec­tion semifi-

nals Mon­day, bat­tled but wasn’t able to de­fend the Rams ‘serve and strong play in the front­court.

“It is rough to see the girls not proud of them­selves, but I am and we’ve came a long way,” Fair­mont Heights head coach Co­rina Ramos said. “McDonough is a very good team and they were the bet­ter team tonight. Our se­niors stepped up this sea­son and showed very good lead­er­ship, it was amaz­ing to watch them do that.”

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

McDonough’s Teya Re­gala, cen­ter, cel­e­brates with her team­mates af­ter notch­ing the fi­nal point of Wed­nes­day’s Class 1A North Sec­tion II vol­ley­ball cham­pi­onship ver­sus Fair­mont Heights. McDonough won the match in three sets.

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