Off to a quick start

Cava­liers sweep Pan­thers in vol­ley­ball show­down

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

Watch­ing his team play dur­ing a pre­sea­son scrim­mage at Anne Arun­del County’s South River High School, Calvert head vol­ley­ball coach Tim Smith came to the re­al­iza­tion that his job was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than usual.

“I told my assistants it’s kind of fun be­cause the girls are just do­ing some things they’re sup­posed to do,” he said. “They’re like run­ning them­selves, which is the ul­ti­mate goal. Go and play a high-level game and they’re ba­si­cally

do­ing it on their own. I don’t re­ally have to step in a whole lot. I still tweak some things here and there, but I’m ex­cited for this sea­son to see where things go.”

Through three matches all has been good for the Cava­liers, who opened the sea­son with a 3-0 win at Leonard­town, fol­lowed it up with a an­other sweep at St. Charles and then de­feated county ri­val Patux­ent 25-12, 25-12, 27-25 in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion match on Mon­day night.

“It’s a fairly ma­ture group,” Smith said of his squad. “We have seven se­niors on the ros­ter, a cou­ple play­ers who are four-year var­sity starters. It’s pretty ex­cit­ing for me to see how they’ve grown across four years and the things that they’re do­ing.”

On Mon­day, Calvert (3-0, 2-0 SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake) stormed out to a quick two-set lead. The Cava­liers did not trail

for a sin­gle point un­til Patux­ent (1-1, 0-1) won the first point of the third set. Patux­ent made sure to cre­ate at least a lit­tle drama, though, even­tu­ally lead­ing 24-21 be­fore the Cava­liers won four straight points, in­clud­ing three in a row with Rachel Black serv­ing, to stave off los­ing the set and surge ahead 2524.

Patux­ent tied the score back up at 25, but Calvert won the next point to go up 26-25 and then put the match away when the Pan­thers were un­able to get Me­gan Wil­liams’ serve back

over the net.

“I think for our first home match we played pretty well,” said Calvert’s Anna Kelly, who was a force at the net all night for the Cava­liers. “I know the ex­cite­ment level was re­ally high so we made some lit­tle mis­takes. I think we were able to re­cover from it re­ally well. We earned a lot of points in the first two sets. The third set we messed up a lot, I think just be­cause we re­laxed too much. But I think our con­fi­dence brought us back up to get the win.”

The man­ner in which the team has started the sea­son had Kelly ex­cited about this year’s prospects. Calvert is sched­uled to host Hunt­ing­town

at 5:30 p.m. Thurs­day in an­other Calvert County matchup.

“We’ve been do­ing re­ally well,” she said. “Our first match we swept Leonard­town 3-0. That’s the first time the school has beat them in three years. It was a big, big win for us. We swept St. Charles 3-0 and Patux­ent 3-0. We’re just re­ally ex­cited. I know we’re go­ing to go far this sea­son. We’re ex­cited for Hunt­ing­town on Thurs­day.”

Ex­pe­ri­enced as the team may be, Smith still sees plenty of work to be done. Mon­day night’s match il­lus­trated some of that, with a high num­ber of missed serves giv­ing away point to the Pan­thers.

“There’s room for im­prove-

ment, for sure,” Smith said. “We were try­ing some dif­fer­ent things, try­ing some things of­fen­sively. ... The girls missed a ton of serves. I think half the points they got were on missed serves. We’re typ­i­cally an ag­gres­sive serv­ing team, so that’s not some­thing I’m re­ally con­cerned about at this point in the sea­son. It just makes the match a lit­tle tighter.”

Patux­ent, which was sched­uled to host St. Charles on Tues­day night and next slated to be at Leonard­town at 5:30 p.m. Mon­day, does not have the lux­ury of seven se­niors on its ros­ter this year. But head coach Kevin Keller sees a team that he ex­pects to con­sis­tently

im­prove as the sea­son un­folds.

“We’ve im­proved each match,” he said. “We don’t get down. Prob­a­bly the first match [a 3-1 win over North Point] a lit­tle bit, but now I think their ca­ma­raderie is re­ally com­ing to­gether. ... We’re young. We have two se­niors, but I love the chem­istry and it’s go­ing to be a joy coach­ing this team. They’re go­ing to get bet­ter and bet­ter and their at­ti­tude is fan­tas­tic.

“[Calvert is] a tough team. We were mak­ing a lot of er­rors early. They missed some serves and kept us in it, as well. But the girls fought hard and the re­siliency is some­thing to be proud of.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

Calvert’s vol­ley­ball team de­feated the vis­it­ing Patux­ent Pan­thers 3-0 on Mon­day night.

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