No. 3 River Hill Volleyball shows composure in 3-0 sweep of No. 12 Marriotts Ridge – Baltimore Sun
Trailing by six early in the second set, the No. 3 Volleyball from River Hill didn’t flinch. Taking one point at a time, the Hawks battled through the early deficit to regain the lead.
With 10 seniors on the roster, River Hill showed consistency and composure to sweep No. 12 Marriotts Ridge. In a game featuring two of Howard County’s last three undefeated teams, the Hawks defeated the Mustangs 25-14, 25-15, 25-19.
“Our theme this year is, ‘Now and Now.’ That’s what we’re working on, forget the previous seven,” River Hill coach Lynn Paynter said. “We’re living in the moment and the moment we’re in. Then we’ll move on to the next one. That’s kind of what our theme has been, kids buy the whole system with each other.
The first part of the first set was a stalemate with obvious energy. After being tied at 7, the Hawks built some distance, winning five of the next six points to take a 13-8 lead. After Marriotts Ridge staged a rally, River Hill (8-0 overall, 7-0 Howard County) responded. The Hawks had eight straight points, extending their lead to 22-12, and closed the set shortly after.
“Emotions were very high with two teams undefeated which was very stressful,” said River Hill’s Maddy Antevil. “I think all day we were all nervous, but excited to get out there. I think when we got there we just tried not to let our nerves get to us and used it as energy instead of letting the nerves get us down.
Trailing one set, Marriotts Ridge came out of the gates firing in the second. The Mustangs took a 7-1 lead with Rhisen Davis leading the offense. River Hill chipped away, scoring five straight to tie the set at 8.
“We all hold ourselves accountable and we’re just channeling that energy, even when it was tough when we got into that hole in the second set,” Grace Leska said. “We just push each other and say shake it up. We really tried to move on and give it our all.
Neither team was able to withdraw until the final stages of the second. Behind Antevil’s serve, the Hawks closed the set with nine straight points, including a pair of aces from Antevil and several kills from Leska.
“Looking at the pitch and visualizing where I’m going to go before I touch the ball is super important,” Antevil said. “Also, serve at the seams between the players. Overall I just think it was great communication from the whole team.
In straight sets, Marriotts Ridge needed a strong start to the third. However, the Mustangs struggled early, finding themselves in a 12-3 hole due to a combination of their own mistakes and strategically placed Hawks attacks.
Marriotts Ridge staged a rally, cutting the margin to 15-11, hoping to extend the game. Still, the Hawks responded with another extended run. River Hill has scored six straight points, extending the lead to 10.
It was too big a margin to overcome, and the Hawks closed out the game several points later.
“A loss can always be a good thing,” Marriotts Ridge coach Jamie Bullock said as his team fell to 8-1 and 7-1 in County. “We’re going to make sure we have to play better defence. We have to make sure we swing and place the balls better. I think that also means for the substitutes that it’s time for them to step in too because I have to be able to turn to someone else when my starters have an evening off.