Li­ons win first Bayside ti­tle since 1997

Queen Anne’s not at its sharpest, but good enough to notch con­vinc­ing sweep over the Clip­pers

Record Observer - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

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.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss. email me at

ck­nauss@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

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.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

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.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

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.

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