South Carroll and No. 19 Bohemia Manor denied berths in Class 1A state volleyball finals by Williamsport and Mountain Ridge, respectively

by Nelson Coffin

The 1A state volleyball semifinals went to teams from outside the Baltimore Metro area on Tuesday at Harford Community College’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds Federal Credit Union Arena.

Try as they might, neither South Carroll nor 19th-ranked Bohemia Manor could find a path to Thursday’s state finals at the same site in their battles against Williamsport and Mountain Ridge, respectively.

(From left) South Carroll senior outside hitter Ava Fogle, junior libero Cali Kalishek and Cavaliers’ coach Brad Kutzler spoke after their 3-0 loss to Williamsport in 1A state semifinals on Tuesday.

South Carroll, in danger of getting blown out after a tough 25-9 first-set loss, fell behind, 7-0, in the middle set before rallying to tie the score at 18-18 behind the big swings of 6-foot-1 senior middle hitter Ava Fogle, who looked the part of a player who averaged 5.6 kills per set this season.

A service error by the Wildcats (21-3) helped the Cavaliers (10-8) to start forging a comeback with Fogle at the service line where she had an ace.

She also added two blocks and as many kills before Williamsport stopped the bleeding — for a while.

South Carroll went back on the attack, taking a 13-12 advantage on a Fogle kill and eventually extended the lead to 16-13 on a kill by senior outside hitter Elliott Golueke and Fogle’s block.

The Cavs’ last tie came on a kill by — guess who? — Fogle, who tailed eight of those in the middle set alone before the Knights succumbed, 25-22.

That, however, was South Carroll’s last gasp as Williamsport earned another state final berth when it rolled to a 25-8 verdict in the final set.

Fogle said that it took some time for the Knights to recognize what the Wildcats are all about.

And what they found was a very powerful front row that averaged 11 kills per set with an athletic and energetic setter with an 8.1 assist-per-set average in a program that is used to winning at the state level.

The Wildcats will be looking to add to their state-record 15 titles when they meet Mountain Ridge on Thursday.

“We kind of had to get a feel for what our competition was,” Fogle said. “Then we realized that they were very good.”

South Carroll, on the other hand, has won only one state crown and had not claimed a regional banner since 2008 until plowing through all three opponents — Western Tech, Francis Scott Key and CMIT North — with 3-0 sweeps last week.

“We used to have long losing streaks,” Fogle said.

“I never expected much from our program,” Kalishek added.

“I thought we had a chance because every team is beatable,” South Carroll coach Brad Kutzler said. “But they have a really good team. They remind me of Century — and we played them tough.”

Bohemia Manor (17-3), which boasts another phoenix-like program rising from the ashes, posed more of a problem for another Western Maryland foe in the other semifinal.

(From left) Bo Manor coach Sabrina Larmer, senior setter Margaret McGlothin, senior opposite hitter Camryn Meyers and senior defensive specialist Emily Sample reflect on the Eagles’ first appearance in a state final four since 1980, after bowing to Mountain Ridge, 3-1, on Tuesday.

After tying Mountain Ridge (12-6) early in the opening set, the Eagles could never quite catch up and fell, 25-19.

The second set was a different story, mainly because Bo Manor exploited openings in the Lady Miners’ serve-receive unit following junior middle blocker Rylee Lenz’s kill off a block that gave Bo Manor a 4-3 lead.

Successive kills by the 6-foot-1 Lenz and 5-foot-3 senior opposite hitter Camryn Meyers gave the Eagles some breathing room at 8-4 before Mountain Ridge drew even at 12-12.

An untimely service error and back-to-back kills by Lenz sent Bo Manor back on the right track to secure the 25-18 victory.

To make things look even more promising, the Eagles raced to a 7-2 advantage in the third set after a Meyers kill, assisted by senior setter Margaret McGlothlin.

The Allegany County champs came storming back, however, to take a 17-16 lead and pulled out a 25-17 triumph.

The final set was close down the stretch, with the Eagles creeping to within 22-21 on a McGlothlin kill and then again at 23-22 on Lenz’s final kill that weren’t quite enough to prevent the Lady Miners from completing a 25-22 clincher.

“We kind of got them out of their system in the second set,” Bohemia Manor coach Sabrina Larmer said.

She also praised McGlothlin for her 28-assist match.

“She’a good communicator who does a good job of setting for different needs,” the coach added. “She’s a perfectionist who doesn’t feel quite right until they (the hitters) get what they need.”

Meyers said that the Eagles were really nervous, “until we got the hang of it and calmed down.”

Mountain Ridge coach Valerie Broadwater said that Lenz was an obstacle that had to be addressed.

“She’s really good,” she said. “We just tried to get our hands up at the net and tried to take advantage of her when she was in the back row.”

Bo Manor, which has never won a state volleyball title, was back in the state semifinal round for the first time since 1980.

“We knew that when these players first came (to Bo Manor), this would be the team to do it,” Larmer said.

Pictured above: Bohemia Manor junior middle blocker Rylee Lenz had 14 kills for the Eagles in a 3-1 loss to Mountain Ridge in a 1A state semifinal loss on Tuesday.

(at Harford Community College)

(25-9, 25-22, 25-8)

(25-19, 18-25, 25-17, 25-22)