Lions win first Bayside title since 1997
Queen Anne’s not at its sharpest, but good enough to notch convincing sweep over the Clippers
Queen Anne’s 3 — J.M. Bennett 0
SALISBURY — The crisp passing game wasn’t there, so the killer kills weren’t there either. But it didn’t matter for the Lions.
Queen Anne’s County’s volleyball team solidified its standing as the class of the conference this year with a 3-0 sweep Tuesday evening over host James M. Bennett in the Bayside Conference championship game.
The undefeated North Bayside champion Lions improved to 14-0, adding the conference championship to their 2016 list of accomplishments, its first in volleyball since 1997.
“It’s a good feeling ‘cause it’s been a long time since we’ve done it,” Lions middle hitter Allie Harris said. “We played as a team. We didn’t do our best. … It was a little bit nervous, especially when they were catching up to us and when we got down, but we came back.”
Emma Feaga smacked eight kills and picked up nine digs to lead the Lions. Harris contributed five kills and four blocked shots. Rebecca Clay collected eight digs and Kayla Blann had seven digs and 16 assists.
“Overall, I think we were a little off, the way we’ve been playing,” Lions head coach Kim Rementer-Betts said. “But with that said, people trying to step up and support one another when they were having moments of bad play, and our serving improved towards the end of the match, which definitely played in our favor.”
The 25-23, 25-21, 25-16 sweep didn’t come easy, especially the first game, which featured 10 ties. The last tie came at 23-23, created by a lucky mishit kill by Clay that the Clippers failed to return. Kailey Boomer then served out the game. Bennett sent a middle-hit kill out of bounds to make it 2423, and Blann then set Feaga for a left-side kill to the middle of the Clippers’ court to end it.
Queen Anne’s led the first game 12-6 largely on the strength of a four-point service run by Blann that included three straight aces. Boomer had provided the sideout with a cross-court kill to get the ball into Blann’s hands.
But the Clippers fought back with some solid play at the middle of the net from Ashlyn Brock. McKena Humberton put down a tip attempt by the Lions to tie the game at 14-14. Cassie LeCates later tipped a first-hit winner to the left-side of the court for a 2222 tie. Queen Anne’s sent a kill wide of the court as the Clippers took a 23-22 lead, drawing a timeout by Rementer-Betts. The Lions responded with the game’s final three points for a 1-0 match lead.
“We were definitely out of our rhythm,” Rementer-Betts said. “We were having a
hard time jelling. But we’re a pretty relentless group.”
Queen Anne’s appeared it might rebound with a more convincing victory in Game 2.
The Lions jumped ahead 8-4 when Blann tipped a winner to the right side. But Bennett fought back again, getting a four-point service run by LeCates to take a 10-9 lead. She served one ace and the Lions sent two kills out of bounds and committed a net violation.
Another four-point run by Bennett, this one with Brock serving put the Clippers up 15-10 in Game 2. She opened her run with consecutive aces and the Lions sent another kill out of bounds and bumped a serve-return too close to the net for a successful play.
Rementer-Betts called another timeout and the Lions responded again, taking the lead with a six-point service run by Clay that included three aces. Later, leading 2221, Queen Anne’s closed out the game with the final three points. Boomer placed a kill from the left side deep into the far corner of Bennett’s defense to make it 23-21. The Clippers mishit a middle-hit kill attempt to make it 24-21. Sydney Parsons served an ace into the middle of Bennett’s defense to end the game.
Queen Anne’s broke a 5-5 tie in Game 3 when Harris swatted a kill that was tipped by a Bennett blocker and the Lions led the rest of the game. Three points with Kelly Cavanagh serving put the Lions in a comfortable position, up 19-8. She served an ace to begin the short run before the Clippers sent a backcourt hit out of bounds and were whistled for a net violation.
Once again, the Clippers edged back into the game.
A return by LeCates was bumped by the Lions too close to the net, as Bennett closed within 21-15. But a serving error turned the ball back over to Queen Anne’s, which finished the game with a 4-1 run.
Blann earned a point with a defensive play at the net and Feaga scored from the back line with a deep shot. After a service error, Emily Glover swatted a middle-hit kill, off a feed from Blann, through a Clippers’ block to end the match. During the match, Glover provided some solid play off the bench for the Lions.
“She [Glover] stepped in cold and she was able to put the ball down for us and swing the momentum our way,” Rementer-Betts said. “Yeah, it’s hard to step in cold, but we were definitely not in our rhythm.”
The Lions next host either Parkside or Wicomico in the Class 2A East Region playoffs on Monday. Bennett will host either Chesapeake or Hammond in the Class 3A East Region playoffs.
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Queen Anne’s County High’s Rebecca Clay spikes the ball during the Lions’ 3-0 sweep Tuesday evening over host James M. Bennett in the Bayside Conference championship game.
From the left, Queen Anne’s Kayla Blann, Rebecca Clay, and Kelly Cavanagh move into position at the start of a point during the Lions’ 3-0 sweep Tuesday evening over host James M. Bennett in the Bayside Conference championship game.
Queen Anne’s County High’s Rebecca Clay bumps a return of serve during the Lions’ 3-0 sweep Tuesday evening over host James M. Bennett in the Bayside Championship game.