McDonough vol­ley­ball top­ples Lackey in 4 sets

Teams com­bined for 64 points in third set

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

At var­i­ous points through­out the match on Tues­day evening, McDonough High School se­nior Rachel Cox subbed into the vol­ley­ball match for one of her team­mates to serve against vis­it­ing Lackey High School.

Like many of her team­mates on Tues­day, Cox’s jump serves were either re­ally crisp or re­ally wild, so when she went to the back line to serve for match point with her team up 24-22 in the fourth set on­look­ers were un­cer­tain what to ex­pect from the se­nior since her two pre­vi­ous serves that set had re­sulted in points for Lackey with one serve sail­ing wide and an­other land­ing beyond the op­pos­ing back line.

“Since it was match point, some of the girls wanted me to just stay on the ground and hit it over and oth­ers wanted me to go for it with an­other jump serve,” Cox said. “So, I just de­cided to go for it.”

Cox and her team­mates were pleased with the choice as the se­nior’s sharp serve proved too dif­fi­cult for Lackey’s Alyson Roberts to pass to one of her Charg­ers team­mates and the Rams pre­vailed in a long match, 25-22, 21-25, 33-31, 25-22.

At one point early in the fourth set, the Rams had com­mit­ted four straight ser­vice er­rors and trailed the Charg­ers, 15-8, thanks to six ser­vice er­rors.

“Our serv­ing was re­ally hit or miss tonight,” McDonough firstyear head coach Erin Phipps said. “Some of the girls who went into serve did re­ally well and then some­times they had too many

er­rors. We had nine in the sec­ond set and al­most that many in the fourth set.”

After fall­ing seven points be­hind mid­way through the fourth set, McDonough (2-5 over­all) ral­lied thanks to a brief ser­vice run from sopho­more Trin­ity Bar­rett and an­other from fresh­man libero Ja­lyn Smoot, who had four straight win­ners to bring the Rams even at 21. Sopho­more set­ter Gil­lian Cayabyab and sopho­more mid­dle hit­ter Dar­ian Tay­lor com­bined for three kills dur­ing the run.

“She set the ball up nice and high like I like it,” Tay­lor said. “She did a good job all night get­ting the ball to the hit­ters. It was a tough match, but I’m glad we pulled it out in the end.”

After the teams split the open­ing two sets, Lackey and McDonough staged an epic strug­gle in the third set. Dur­ing a set that would even­tu­ally be tied on 12 dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions, McDonough led by as many as seven points mid­way through on an ace from Smoot. But the Charg­ers chipped away and later claimed the lead cour­tesy of five straight ser­vice win­ners from Jurnee Me­len­don that in­cluded a pair of aces.

After the teams were tied at 15, 18 and 20, Lackey’s Nyla Ay­ers nearly clinched the third set with four straight win­ners to lift the Charg­ers to set point at 24-20. But that run ended on an at­tack er­ror from Roberts and after the Rams clawed back to tie the set each team had five chances to se­cure it be­fore McDonough fi­nally did on two straight ser­vice win­ners from Iris Golden, with Olivia Whorl get­ting the set-win­ner on a tap at the net.

“Right now we’re play­ing through a lot of in­juries, but the girls are play­ing with a lot of heart,” Lackey first-year head coach Jonel Barnes said. “It was def­i­nitely the best match that we’ve played so far this sea­son. In that last time­out that fourth set, I told them they had to want it more. In matches like this, it just comes down to who wants it more.”

McDonough also won a very tight first set as it never trailed and the set was only tied on two oc­ca­sions. But each time the Rams ap­peared on the verge of draw­ing away, lead­ing by as many as four points on four dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions, in­clud­ing 24-20, the Charg­ers re­sponded to keep it close un­til the set ended on a Roberts serv­ing er­ror.

Lackey then gained the up­per hand in the sec­ond set and led by as many nine points thanks to ser­vice runs from Chelsea Goldring, Roberts and McKia Alves. But McDonough made things in­ter­est­ing when a ser­vice run by Joel Deloatch brought the hosts to within 2421 late be­fore a Goldring ace ended that set and brought the match even at one set apiece at that point.

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

McDonough High School vol­ley­ball coaches and play­ers hud­dle prior to the sec­ond set of Tues­day’s match against vis­it­ing Lackey. McDonough won the match in four sets, in­clud­ing a pro­longed 33-31 vic­tory in the third set.

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

Play­ers and coaches from Lackey High School hud­dle prior to the start of Tues­day’s match at McDonough. The Charg­ers even­tu­ally fell to the Rams in four sets, in­clud­ing a pro­longed 33-31 fourth set that went in fa­vor of the Rams.

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