Lions swept by Warriors in section semis
EASTON — Josie Stockman to Myia Jeter for a kill.
While that wasn’t the only combination working for Easton High’s volleyball team Monday evening, it was definitely the most emphatic.
Battling through a rough start, the Warriors swept Queen Anne’s County, 2522, 25-15, 25-16, to reach the Class 2A East Section II final.
Queen Anne’s, which ousted North Caroline,
3-2, in last Friday’s quarterfinal round, finished its season at 9-7.
Queen Anne’s jumped ahead 11-5 in the first game before Easton pulled ahead on serving runs by Kate Chapple and Emily Griffith. A kill by Ashanti Stanley off a pass by Jeter put the Warriors ahead
21-17. Benefitting from Easton miscues, Queen Anne’s rallied, winning five of the next six points to tie the game at 22-22.
Haley Stallings delivered an ace and Caitlin Pfeiffer tipped a winner at the net during the game-tying streak. Easton, though, won the final three points beginning with a serving error by the Lions. Jeter assisted on a left-side kill by Jade Williams and Griffith scored with a middle-hit to an open spot to close the game.
“We started very, very slow,” Warriors head coach Jen Powell said. She attributed the turnaround to “getting them together on a timeout and talking about it, and staying on them consistently about their energy, and making sure they stay up and not just lull through everything.”
Queen Anne’s fought its way to a 7-4 lead in Game
2, only to see its advantage evaporate. The Lions committed a two-hit violation and misplaced a servereceive to tie the game at
8-8. Easton went ahead to stay at 10-9 on a Lions hitting error. Queen Anne’s stayed close, trailing 1513, before a 7-0 run by the Warriors, who started clicking with their attack.
“We make adjustments as we go,” Powell said. “If we see something that we need to change and fix, the girls do a really good job of doing that. And as the games went on, obviously there was so much more hustle toward the end that really kept us going.”
Jeter scored with a twohander deep into a corner and followed that with consecutive middle-hit kills off sets from Stockman to put Easton up 18-13 in Game 2. Stockman served an ace, Jeter popped the ball into the net and down for a winner, and the Lions failed to return serve to make it 21-13. Chapple finished the seven-point run with a first-hit tipped winner. Griffith later scored with a middle-hit off a pass from Jeter and the Lions sent a volley into the net to end the game.
“I think we did start off a little bit slow,” Chapple said. “I think we walked in thinking that we had it but then kind of realized that they had nothing to lose. … We were playing scared, thinking that our hits weren’t going to go down, so we stopped playing scared, we started getting our hits down.”
Queen Anne’s stayed in contention early in Game
3. A middle-hit winner by Maddie Tisher, points from Pfeiffer via a block and a back-line kill, and a Taylor Walls kill helped the Lions close within
10-9. But, like Game 2, Easton then took control with another 7-0 run. Jeter delivered a kill off a pass from Stockman for sideout before Williams served for six straight points, starting with an ace.
Back-to-back blasts by Jeter off feeds from Stockman made it 14-9. After hustling defense by her teammates to return a ball that had sailed well off the court, Jeter scored with an over-the-head bump to an open spot much to the delight of the Warriors fans. A hitting error by the Lions and a first-hit slam by Jeter off an errant servereceive made it 17-9 and Easton maintained a large lead the rest of the game.
“The past two times we’ve faced them we’ve had a lot of back-and-forth momentum shifts,” Lions head coach Kim Betts said. “We’d be on top and then we’d give away consecutive points and lose momentum. But they hustle. They definitely outhustled us. They were all over the court. They had great ball pursuit.
“My girls had some good runs,” Betts added. “They did some good things. We had some big digs tonight which I was proud of. But we definitely had a breakdown in communication.”
Queen Anne’s, which won the North Bayside in 2017, was largely inexperienced this season. The Lions will lose two seniors (Stallings and Aryelle Miles) and will look to improve next year as their players continue to gain experience.
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Easton High’s Jade Williams, left, follows through on a front-line hit into a block attempt by Queen Anne’s on Monday evening.
Easton High’s Emily Griffith (17) delivers a front-line hit as Queen Anne’s Taylor Walls attempts a block Monday evening.