Tuesday’s county volleyball showdown between Severna Park and perennial state championship contender Arundel figured to be an early-season litmus test for the young Falcons.
The matchup indeed demonstrated how far Severna Park still has to go, but more promisingly, also how close the team is to competing with one of the state’s best programs.
A steady, experienced Arundel squad outlasted the Severna Park squad 25-9, 15-25, 25-12, 27-25, dropping the Falcons to 2-2 on the young season.
Despite the loss and uneven performance, the Falcons took heart in the highs they had against a program that has played for a state championship three seasons running.
“I thought we had some good performances. We just need more games,” said Severna Park volleyball head coach Tim Dunbar. “We had a good game plan, and for the most part we stuck to it well. Little things here and there that you want to get on them about, but we’re inexperienced. They just need to play more.”
After getting stuck in a difficult serve-receive rotation in the first set, Severna Park raced out to a quick lead in the second to square the match. Arundel caught the Falcons in a rotation again in the third to go up 2-1, and it looked like the game would head to a decisive fifth set. But Arundel fended off three set points and won the final three points to claim the fourth set and the match.
Perry Stevenson led Severna Park with nine kills, followed by Lizzie Ronaghan with eight and Jackie Ball with five. The setting tandem of Jennifer Hong and Gena Wills combined for 18 assists, while libero Annabelle Mora pulled up 13 digs.
The Falcons’ front row had active hands all night but couldn’t get many of their block attempts to stick. In the rare case that Arundel got a free shot at an attack, the Wildcats rarely missed.
“We got a lot of hands on balls, but we haven’t seen a team that has that many hitters and hits the ball that hard,” said Dunbar. “But that’s a team that’s in our region, and we’re going to see them again at some point. We just need to keep working and figure out how to make that 27-25 in our favor next time.”
Severna Park hosts Crofton on Friday.