No. 2 Gladiators swept by Washington County power in 2A state volleyball final; Wildcats win record 15th crown (VIDEO HERE!)
by Nelson Coffin
Glenelg High’s superb season should not be judged by what happened in the Class 2A volleyball final Monday night at the University of Maryland’s Richie Coliseum in College Park, even though things did not go well for the Gladiators against a battle-tested Williamsport squad.
“The girls knew (about the chance to snap a tie with Centennial for most state titles),” Williamsport coach Karen Moyer said. “That was just icing on the cake. In the playoffs, the goal was to get the ball on the first side-out and go from there. We were just peaking at the right time.”
Yet the Gladiators brought some big-time credentials of their own to the table, considering that they were 23-1 coming into the showdown and feature a pair of Division-I prospects in junior outside hitter Maddie Myers and sophomore libero/defensive specialist Alyssa Kelly.
Apparently, Williamsport was not aware of any impediments that would stand in there way — and they played like it from the opening serve to the final kill in a convincing 25-11, 25-13, 25-14 triumph.
The Wildcats started strong and stayed that way, building a 14-3 advantage in the opening set.
Even after a block by senior setter Maddie Southern garnered a much-needed point for the Gladiators, Williamsport proceeded to reel off a 5-0 run to bolt further ahead, 19-4.
From that point, despite a Williamsport service error and kills by junior opposite hitter Haley Ramsey and senior outside hitter Sarah Santiago, the gulf was simply to wide for the Howard County champs to overcome.
The Wildcats prevailed, 25-11, and nearly matched that effort while claiming the second set as well, 25-13.
Things went better, at least in the early going, in the final set.
The Gladiators grabbed their first lead of the match on a Santiago kill and Kelly ace until Williamsport tied it at, 2-2.
Glenelg went back on top on another Santiago kill and eventually led, 8-5, on a kill by senior middle blocker Julia Hall.
However, the Wildcats then went on a withering 13-1 run to grab an 18-9 advantage and remove all doubt about which team would emerge with the title.
“I don’t ever like to blame the officials, but when some of the calls were going the other way in the first set, that took us out of our mode a little bit,” Glenelg coach Jason Monjes said.
There were other worries as well to deal with, such as playing on a Monday with no time for practice before stepping onto the sport’s biggest stage at the high school level, he said.
“Maybe the spotlight was a little big for some of our younger players,” Monjes conceded. “I thought our serving was OK, but we weren’t passing well at all. And we just couldn’t fight our way through some of those points.”
Southern said that the Gladiators’ mistakes did them in.
“We were our own worst enemy,” said the senior captain, who came into the finale with a stat-stuffing 22 aces, 27 kills, 18 blocks, 441 assists and 188 digs.
Myers, who totaled 182 kills, 262 digs, 27 aces this season, said that she knew “that we could have played much better.”
Regardless, Monjes said that his team has nothing to be ashamed of.
“We had one spectacular run and come away one match short,” he added.