West­lake vol­ley­ball falls to Chop­ti­con

Wolver­ines lose in three sets

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By COLIN STOECKER cstoecker@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @stoeck­er­col­inw

The Chop­ti­con Braves vol­ley­ball team trav­eled up to Wal­dorf on Mon­day night to take on West­lake in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence match and re­turned to Mor­ganza with a three­set sweep.

Chop­ti­con won by scores of 25-6, 25-4 and 25-12 against a West­lake squad which still has a fairly young team. In the third and fi­nal set, the Wolver­ines man­aged to come within 16-11, but couldn’t hold up against the Braves’ dom­i­nant out­side hit­ters, se­nior Amyah Hill and ju­nior Ja­clyn Burch.

“The game went well,” Chop­ti­con head coach Lind­say Robert­son said. “We played well and kind of let up in game three, but we came back strong. It was a team ef­fort. Our serv­ing was re­ally strong to­day, so it re­ally helped us. Right now, we are 4-4, we’ve had some re­ally tough losses against some of the Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion side schools. We play Hunt­ing­town on Thurs­day so we have some re­ally tough schools com­ing up also with Leonard­town and La Plata. We will see where it’s go­ing to go and just be ready to go from there.”

Hill, ju­nior op­po­site hit­ter Shanyn Burch, and her sis­ters Ja­clyn and Cait­lyn Burch were a force to be reck­oned with at the net. They blocked many of the Wolver­ines’ at­tempted strikes and forced the ball back onto their side of the court with su­pe­rior height and jump­ing abil­ity.

To start off the first set, West­lake had some de­cent vol­leys back and forth with Chop­ti­con that lasted over a minute, but just couldn’t keep up with the Braves of­fense, suc­cumb­ing 25-6.

Se­nior set­ter Mad­die Ber­gling started off the serv­ing for the Braves, serv­ing four points be­fore be­ing subbed out for ju­nior out­side hit­ter Tay­lor Short.

Fresh­man mid­dle hit­ter Lilly Reynolds stepped up in a big way for the vis­i­tors, serv­ing three in the first set and only cost­ing her team one point, as they took the first set eas­ily from the Wolver­ines. But the real star of the first set was Shanyn Burch, who served eight times.

“It was in­ter­est­ing,” Hill said. “Just re­mem­ber­ing to stay up the whole time and keep­ing tech­nique the whole time is re­ally hard to re­mem­ber. I think this year, I’ve got­ten a lot bet­ter than I have in previous years. This year has re­ally been bet­ter than all of them. I’ve been hit­ting a lot bet­ter and my serves have been a lot more con­sis­tent then they have been in previous years. I’m start­ing this year, too. We have quite a few games left, and this proves to us that we can win if we play the way that we should.”

The sec­ond set saw Chop­ti­con cruise to a 25-4 win. Chop­ti­con kept their start­ing lineup, but subbed out Short for Ber­gling and put in ju­nior de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist Lanie Funya.

The third and fi­nal set was the clos­est of the match. West­lake was just five points away from re­tak­ing the set and ex­tend­ing the match into a fourth set.

In the mid­dle of the set, the Wolver­ines had got­ten to within 16-11. But af­ter a time­out, the Braves came out fo­cused and ready to end the match. And they did, only giv­ing up one more point and even­tu­ally win­ning, 25-12.

In the fi­nal set for West­lake, Julissa Ramirez started off serv­ing. The Wolver­ines were joined by se­nior mid­dle back Kiara Har­ris and Mia Reyes-Spellers, who was subbed in for Cam­eran Thomp­son dur­ing the fi­nal set as well.

“It went much bet­ter than our other games,” Har­ris said. “We talked more and were ac­tu­ally work­ing as a team, so I was re­ally proud. I think this is a big step in our sea­son be­cause now that we have the com­mu­ni­cat­ing down. If we could just get all the parts to­gether, we could start win­ning more games. As long as we talk, so ev­ery­body knows where the ball is go­ing and who’s hit­ting, so we can get in the right po­si­tion. I’m ex­cited for our im­prove­ment and win­ning and hope­fully go­ing to states.”

Still, West­lake is a young team and head coach Bran­don Bad­der is op­ti­mistic about his team’s progress this year and last.

“I mean we’re try­ing to make strides ev­ery­day,” Bad­der said. “Ev­ery coach is go­ing to say that we prac­tice well, which we do. We just re­ally have to work on trans­lat­ing that to the court. A lot of times it’s hard to for­get the pro­gram that we took over. We didn’t have much sta­bil­ity and we’ve made a ton of strides in the first year and on the court. But in the mo­ment of the game, some­times it’s dif­fi­cult to re­al­ize this is still the sec­ond year into the new regime and still a lot of old habits we’re try­ing to flush out. We are try­ing to turn this into a pro­gram in­stead of a team that comes out to play ev­ery year.”

West­lake fell to 1-9 over­all with a three-set loss to La Plata on Wed­nes­day.

“We’re about the same as we were this time last year,” Bad­der said. “Some play­ers had bet­ter games than oth­ers, but over­all we try to strive for con­sis­tency.”

Chop­ti­con (4-4) was slated to be at Hunt­ing­town on Thurs­day.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY COLIN STOECKER

West­lake out­side hit­ter Cam­eran Thomp­son goes for the ball at the net against Chop­ti­con ju­nior mid­dle hit­ter Cait­lyn Burch in Mon­day night’s SMAC matchup. The Wolver­ines lost three sets to the Braves, 25-6, 25-4 and 25-12.

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