Western Tech volleyball team's dream season ends in state semifinals

Wolverines fall to three-time defending champion Smithsburg, 25-7, 25-13, 25-11

November 15, 2011|By Tom Worgo, Catonsville Times

COLLEGE PARK — The Western Tech volleyball team's first visit to the state semifinals didn't last long, yet for coach Eric Jett and the Wolverines, the experience is something to savor.

Just an hour after the opening introductions, the Wolverines were dispatched by three-time defending state champion Smithsburg of Washington County, 25-7, 25-13, 25-11, in a Class 1A matchup Tuesday night at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.

"They are the three-time defending state champion, and they played like it," Jett said. "Clearly, they have a lot of girls who play in the offseason. Boy, they can play defense. When you play defense like that, and when you make it that hard on another team to score points, you can have that swagger."

Senior outside hitter Bria McCaskill (five digs) and senior setter Aigner Chavis-Turner (six assists, three digs) paced Western Tech, which didn't take its first lead until the third game.

Senior middle hitter Danielle Harbaugh (17 kills) and senior setter Sarah Shives (30 assists) led the Leopards, who advanced to play Perryville on Saturday.

The best Western Tech could do early was to draw even in the first game, before the Leopards (15-2) jumped ahead 7-2, leading Jett to call a timeout.

Things only got worse for the Wolverines (12-5), as Smithsburg scored seven straight points to end the first game.

The Leopards were just as impressive in the second game, building a 13-3 lead, thanks to Harbaugh's hitting.

"They really stepped it up tonight," Smithsburg coach Rachel Brashear said of his players. "They played flawless. They served-received well. They played all aspects of the game well."

In the final game, Western Tech showed some fight by taking a 4-2 advantage before their hopes were dashed by a 12-2 Leopards barrage.

Despite the outcome, the Wolverines, who had arrived four hours before the match to take pictures, celebrated their historic season.

"We beat a couple of teams this year that we usually struggle against," said Jett, whose team had swept Pikesville in the regional final. "The season was just fantastic."

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