Spalding finishes IAAM A Conference regular season undefeated

Girls volleyball

Tough defense key in three-set victory over St. Paul's

October 18, 2011|By Mike Frainie, Special to The Baltimore Sun

In recent seasons, the Archbishop Spalding volleyball team had been a perennial bridesmaid in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.

Times have changed.

Spalding completed an undefeated regular season in the conference Tuesday with a 25-20, 25-19, 25-15 win over host St. Paul's. If the second-ranked Cavaliers (16-0, 9-0) beat B Conference leader John Carroll on Thursday, they'll be undefeated overall entering the conference tournament next week.

"When the season started, we wondered how all of the juniors on the team would play. Would they step up and assume a role on the team?" said senior and four-year starter Jamie Rombach, who had 11 kills, 17 assists and 12 digs. "Well, they did beyond anyone's expectations. They are one of the keys to our success."

The Cavaliers used tough defense to defeat the No. 11 Gators, winning several long rallies by refusing to let the ball hit the floor.

"We are really good at communicating and moving our feet," junior Kristen Seeba said. "A lot of us have played together for a few years, so we communicate very well together."

After losing the first set and trailing throughout, St. Paul's (9-3, 7-2) tried to make a game of it in the second set, using an ace by Amanda Blank to take a 14-13 lead. It was their only lead of the match.

After a 16-16 tie, Spalding used kills by Seeba (13 kills, 16 assists, 14 digs), Jordan Lawson (12 digs, six kills) and Katie Davis (seven kills), as well as two taps over the net by Seeba, to close out the set on a 9-3 run.

The formula was much the same in the third set. Seeba, Rombach (twice) and Davis again contributed kills to run a 12-10 lead to 17-10 en route to the win.

Spalding coach Scott Rombach (Jamie's father) said the willingness of his players to accept and adjust to different roles is what makes this team special.

"We had one of our starters [Holly McDonnell] out today, so I asked Katie Davis to move from outside to middle hitter," the coach said. "She hadn't played there all year, but she stepped in and did a great job."

St. Paul's attributed the loss to a combination of factors.

"We made a lot of small errors, and when you do that they tend to turn into big errors," said senior Kabria Haskins, who had 11 kills and two blocks. "Now we know what we need to work on before the playoffs start next week."

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