Carver A&T defeats Ben Franklin to advance

Dominant serving and opportunistic offense lead to sweep, first state-title berth; Wildcats will face Fort Hill in final

November 14, 2013|By Mike Frainie, For the Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — For Carver A&T's Shannon Herlihy, Thursday night's trip to the state volleyball semifinal was an experience in itself. Thanks to her play and that of her teammates, there will be another first on Saturday evening. It will be the first time Carver plays for a state volleyball championship.

The Wildcats (13-6) used an opportunistic offense and dominant serving that included 16 aces to defeat Ben Franklin-Masonville, 25-15, 25-12, 25-13, in the Class 1A state semifinals at Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland.

Carver will face Fort Hill of Cumberland, which recorded a three-set victory over Perryville, in Saturday's 5 p.m. Class 1A state championship. That game also will be played at Ritchie Coliseum.

"It was an amazing experience," said Herlihy, a senior. "We're known as an arts school, and no one from our school has ever gotten this far. We played like a team, and that helped us to win."

Both teams played tentatively in the first set, but Carver used three consecutive kills by Herlihy (12 kills, six digs) to break the first set open and take a 12-8 lead. After Sbila Williams' tip for Ben Franklin (12-6) cut the lead to 12-9, Carver controlled the net and got aces from Katarina Pesic Vidic (17 assists), Morgan James and Kylia Jackson to take the set, 25-15.

The Wildcats led throughout the second set, taking a 15-6 lead and forcing a timeout by Ben Franklin's coach, Colin Murfee. The Bayhawks managed to cut the lead to 15-8 but could get no closer and eventually fell, 25-12.

The third set was controlled by Carver, which coasted to a 25-13 victory.

Now Carver has the unenviable task of taking on a taller and more powerful Fort Hill team. Carver coach Ralph Olson said it's a challenge he thinks his team will be up to.

"They have some really tall girls and they work really well together," Olson said. "They cover well for each other when they make mistakes, and they hit the ball hard. It should be a good match for us, and I'm looking forward to it."

For Ben Franklin, the experience was also a first. Senior Ali Rone said she'll treasure the experience, if not the outcome.

"We got to do what we love to do, which is to play volleyball," Rone said. "Even though we lost, I can still leave here with a smile on my face, knowing we represented our school and Baltimore City well."

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