The Arundel volleyball team fell 3-0, 16-25, 19-25, 22-25, to Montgomery County powerhouse Sherwood on Tuesday night in the Class 4A state semifinals held at Ritchie Coliseum on the campus of the University of Maryland.

In the press conference after the match, Wildcats’ junior hitter Lindsay Tapley said her team was not ready for Warriors outside hitter Alex Holston.

“It was different coming in having a big lefty on the outside, we just weren’t used to blocking it,” she said.  “We couldn’t pick it up at first. We got better in the end but it was just different coming in facing something you’re not used to.”

“We had trouble getting our blocks lined up against [Holston] and that made it a lot harder on the defense,” said Arundel coach Ashley Yuscavage.  “She was the one who really hurt us; otherwise we put up good blocks against everyone else.”

Holston tallied a game-high 14 kills, including four in the first set of the match to power Sherwood to the 4A state finals.

Ashlyn Tapley powered Arundel (17-4) with 14 digs and six kills, while Cassie Miller had 15 digs and three service aces and Shannon Wilks contributed 12 digs.  Lindsay Tapley and Brooke Sillaman had nine assists each.

The Wildcats avenged an earlier loss to Severna Park in the 4A East Regional semifinals and won the school’s first regional title since 1956 when they defeated South River, 3-0.

But Arundel ran into a tough test when they faced Sherwood, which improved its record to 18-0.  Also, the Warriors have not dropped a single game in any of its wins this season.

“This is probably the strongest team we’ve played,” said Ashlyn Tapley.  “I don’t think we were used to teams digging and blocking our balls.  When they blocked our balls, we kind of just watched it hit the floor because it was a surprise.”

The Wildcats jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first game and held a 5-2 advantage after a kill by Ashlee Felton (five kills) before Holston began to heat up.

Behind the service of Erin Brady (seven aces), Sherwood won the next 10 points to jump out to a commanding lead and took the first game 25-16.

There were eight tied scores and four lead changes in the contest.

The second and third games started like the first, with Arundel coming out strong with an early lead.  The Wildcats hung tough but the combination of Holston and hitter Megan Hewitt (10 kills) proved too much for the Wildcats.

“I just think we didn’t give it all that we had,” said Ashlyn Tapley.  “I think when we knew that this was our last game, we tried and that is not what we should have done. We had to start the way from the beginning and we didn’t do that.”

But the future is bright for Arundel, which brings back all seven of its starters in 2011.

“The good thing is that we have a young team,” said Yuscavage.  “We have four of our starters who are freshman or sophomores. We have a lot to look forward to next season.”