Westlake volleyball falls to Chopticon
Wolverines lose in three sets
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.
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.