As part of this week's Homecoming festivities, members of Old Mill's volleyball team took part in "Reversal Day." They entered Arundel's gymnasium yesterday wearing neatly pressed white shirts and neck ties, a look more associated with the boys in the school.
But the real reversal took place during the match, as the seventh-ranked Patriots overcame sluggishness and indecision to outlast unranked Arundel, 15-17, 15-12, 15-5, 10-15, 15-9, in Gambrills.
The Wildcats (2-3) had a 12-10 lead in the second game after three straight aces from Virginia Gonski. They looked ready to put Old Mill (4-2) in a huge hole when the Patriots' Allison Wentworth served out the match, including two aces, to even the games at 1-1.
"She's very consistent with her serves," said Old Mill coach Patti DeMarco. "If you want somebody serving at a critical time, you want her."
"I don't think about my serves when I'm up there," Wentworth said. "One of the coaches called a timeout, and someone started to tell me how many points I needed, and I said, 'I don't want to know.' I tried not to think about what the score was."
DeMarco couldn't help but notice the score of the first game, and the Patriots' bundle of unforced errors.
"We were beating ourselves. We were making mistakes and they were capitalizing," she said.
"Arundel doesn't have a real strong hitting team. They have a real strong defensive team. We were making a lot of mistakes and missing a lot of our serves and turning the ball over. You can't do that."
Old Mill met little resistance in taking the third game, which ended with five straight service winners by Tracy Kaszuba. Wentworth and 6-footer Debbie Dawson each had one kill during the sequence, and Kaszuba had an ace.
Arundel built an 8-0 lead in the fourth game behind the serving of Traci Koenig and Gonski and the powerful hitting of Kathy Brady (10 kills). An ace by Christine Baer tied the score 8-8, and Wentworth followed with a kill to give Old Mill the lead. But the Wildcats wouldn't be denied, forcing Old Mill to a fifth game for the first time all season.
"Compared to Friday, when we got beat by South River, 3-0, this was a big improvement," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers. "We just have some mental breakdowns at times."
Old Mill took a 13-2 lead in the fifth game and then withstood an Arundel comeback that saw the hosts pull to 13-9. Reserve Andrea Melocik finally ended the match by serving two aces.
"I was glad to see we were able to come back and win," DeMarco said, "but I know we can play better than we did -- much better."