No. 14 Mount de Sales serves up an upset over No. 2 St. Paul's

Junior setter Owensby has nine aces in three-set sweep

October 06, 2011|By Mike Frainie, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Chelsea Owensby has been Mount de Sales' ace in the hole for the last few years. On Thursday, her aces kept the Sailors out of the hole — literally.

The junior setter served nine of No. 11 Mount de Sales' 14 aces in a 25-20, 25-15, 25-20 Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference upset victory at No. 2 St. Paul's.

Owensby also contributed 25 assists.

Taylor Beaumont and Jodi Schneider led Mount de Sales (8-1, 6-1) with 10 kills each. Kabria Haskins led the Gators (7-1, 5-1) with 8 kills.

"They served us off the court," St. Paul's coach Kelli Wilkinson said. "That's experience and attitude. They played like a championship team today."

The Sailors are still trying to find their way this season. They've won conference championships the past two years and had the past two Baltimore Sun Players of the Year in Hannah Schmidt (now at UMBC) last year, and Katy Buck (now at Towson) the year before.

But this year's team wins with a more balanced lineup and teamwork.

"We had a lot of unknowns coming into the season," said Owensby, whose mother Monica is the Sailors' coach. "We had no big names, but we were able to build on last season."

The telling part of the match came in the third set. St. Paul's, which lost one of its leaders when senior libero Sarah Bowman went down with an anterior cruciate ligament injury in practice in late September, came out on a 7-1 run to start the set.

Gradually, the Sailors chipped away at the lead. With the score tied at 20-20, Colleen Finley got a tip over the net that found open space to give Mount de Sales a 21-20 lead. From there, senior Clare Stavely served four straight points to close the match.

Monica Owensby credits a Sept. 21 loss to conference rival Archbishop Spalding as a turning point for her team. The Sailors have won three straight since.

"That loss taught us about ourselves," the coach said. "It was a lesson about digging out of holes and doing the little things that you have to do to win. I think you saw some of that today."

Owensby said one of the skills she's been working on with her team since the Spalding game was serving.

"Our motto has always been 'serve in, serve tough, serve smart,'" she said. "That really came together for us in this match."

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