After her team’s semifinal victory Thursday, Mount de Sales Academy volleyball coach Monica Owensby reflected back to four years ago when she coached several of her current varsity performers on junior varsity.

“It’s like a little creation and it’s actually going to play out,” the Sailors’ second-year coach Owensby said. “This is Chapter 4.”

The No. 3 Sailors put an exclamation point on their latest championship novel Saturday night, sweeping Archbishop Spalding, 25-12, 25-12 and 25–16, at Roland Park Country School for the IAAM A Conference title.

Senior outside hitter Hannah Schmidt had 13 kills, two blocked kills and nine digs for Mount de Sales (20-1 overall), and Jodi Schneider added nine kills. Kristen Seeba had four kills and nine assists for Spalding (17-2) with junior Jamie Rombach finishing with four kills and six assists.

In winning its third consecutive title, Mount de Sales joins McDonogh School (2000-2002 in A) as the only programs in IAAM history to accomplish the feat. The Sailors extended their winning streak against IAAM A opponents (regular season and postseason) to 31.

On a Championship Saturday that saw the first two title matches go the distance, Mount de Sales overwhelmed the Cavaliers after a slow start. The Catonsville school only lost two sets (vs. Seton Keough) in league play.

“Everybody was really nervous and didn’t play as well,” said Schmidt. “After we found that out the flow, we just kept up the intensity.

It’s the first time for some of us in this gym and it’s a pretty intimidating gym, it gets pretty loud. It freaks people out; it freaked me out the first time I was here.”

Three years ago, Schmidt was on the Sailors’ first title squad that denied St. Paul’s School for Girls and Bailey Webster (University of Texas) a second straight championship. Last season, Schmidt was Robin to All-Metro player of the year Katie Buck’s Batman for the repeat.

Schmidt was the steady confident leader this fall with Caroline Casey (six kills Saturday) and Katie Delaney providing senior leadership. But the emergence of underclassmen like Chelsea Owensby (35 assists), Schneider, Taylor Beaumont (seven kills) and Lily Green helped make Mount de Sales championship-caliber again.

“There isn’t one person that stands out,” said Schmidt. “We all do outstanding things. We play well together, that’s what important.”

mount de sales volleyball“I always tell them everybody’s a setter, everybody can serve, everybody can dig, everybody can hit,” said Monica Owensby. “They applied that knowledge and it was nice to see.”

Spalding had the Sailors reeling early at 8-3, but Mount de Sales won 10 of the next 11 points capped by Schmidt’s kill. Her ace closed out the first set and a 22-4 run.

The Sailors got the early advantage at 7-2, and didn’t let up once they got into system. An ace by Clare Stavely followed by a kill block from Schneider pushed Mount de Sales into double-digits (18-8).

The Cavaliers again had some momentum, leading 11-5 in the third set after a kill from Katie Davis. Mount de Sales stormed back to pull even at 14, then a Spalding shot landed and another went out before back-to-back points by Schneider, put Mount de Sales ahead for good.

Spalding coach Scott Rombach said his team wasn’t able to keep Mount de Sales on the defensive.

“We gave so many free balls over they were just hitting shots at us,” said Rombach, whose team only losses have been against the Sailors. “Caroline Casey came around and between her and Hannah, and Taylor [Beaumont] on the outside, they’re just outstanding.”

Monica Owensby described her team as a “roller coaster” at several junctures during the season. It was definitely a smooth ride Saturday.

“It’s nice to see when hard work paid off,” said Owensby. “I couldn’t ask for a better team to celebrate this with.”